A U.S.-German research team has announced a breakthrough in the production of graphene nanoribbons that could make it easier to create them and allow scientists to more easily alter their properties, according to Phys.org.
The team, led by Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, have successfully produced a graphene nanoribbon on the surface of a semiconductor for the first time ever. Previously this was only possible on metallic surfaces such as gold.
Until now, the ribbons were mainly synthesized on gold surfaces. This is not only comparatively expensive, but also impractical,” says MLU professor Konstantin Amsharov.
Besides the expense of gold as a research material, using gold was something of a double-edged sword for researcherse. Its properties were necessary as a catalyst to produce nanoribbons, but its conductivity ultimately negates the purpose of the nanoribbons, Phys.org writes.
Amsharov said the team is hopeful its new graphene nanoribbon synthesis method will have applications in storage and semiconductor technology, as well as play a role in quantum computers down the line.