An international team of scientists have successfully produced the first-ever porous graphene ribbons in which certain carbon atoms in the crystal lattice were replaced with nitrogen atoms. The ribbons have semiconducting properties that would make them prized in electronics and quantum computing applications.
The graphene ribbons the team produced contain pores as well as a repeating pattern of nitrogen atoms. The ladder-like structure’s “rungs” are each made of 2 nitrogen atoms. Among their findings were that the ribbon they had produced no longer retained the electrical conductivity properties of regular graphene ribbons, but instead acted like superconductors, which would allow the material’s conductivity to be precisely dialed in as needed.
To produce these nitrogen-infused graphene ribbons, the research team exposed the individual components to high heat on a silver surface within a vacuum. Their ribbons were formed using temperatures as high as 220-degrees Celsius.
“We expect these porous, nitrogen-doped graphene ribbons to display extraordinary magnetic properties,” said University of Basel physicist Ernst Meyer. “In the future, the ribbons could therefore be of interest for applications in quantum computing.”