Researchers “iron out” graphene’s wrinkles

    New technique produces highly conductive graphene wafers.

    MIT Single Domain Web
    Researchers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.

    From an electron’s point of view, graphene must be a hair-raising thrill ride. For years, scientists have observed that electrons can blitz through graphene at velocities approaching the speed of light, far faster than they can travel through silicon and other semiconducting materials.

    Graphene, therefore, has been touted as a promising successor to silicon, with the potential to enable faster, more efficient electronic and photonic devices.

    But manufacturing pristine graphene — a single, perfectly flat, ultrathin sheet of carbon atoms, precisely aligned and linked together like chickenwire — is extremely difficult. Conventional fabrication processes often generate wrinkles, which can derail an electron’s bullet-train journey, significantly limiting graphene’s electrical performance.

    Now engineers at MIT have found a way to make graphene with fewer wrinkles, and to iron out the wrinkles that do appear. After fabricating and then flattening out the graphene, the researchers tested its electrical conductivity. They found each wafer exhibited uniform performance, meaning that electrons flowed freely across each wafer, at similar speeds, even across previously wrinkled regions.

    In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers report that their techniques successfully produce wafer-scale, “single-domain” graphene — single layers of graphene that are uniform in both atomic arrangement and electronic performance.

    back to newsletter

    Read more at the MIT News Office.

    Jennifer Chu | MIT News Office
    April 3, 2017