Within a period of 10 years, graphene has leapt from the pages of physics journals to the pages of daily newspapers. Wonderful electrical, optical, and mechanical properties are being ascribed to graphene, and its potential for nanoelectromechanical systems, complex electronic circuits, photodetectors, and ultrafast lasers has been demonstrated in laboratories worldwide.
Soon, graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms covalently bonded in a two-dimensional hexagonal lattice, is expected to enter households in electronic displays.
For an account of the current fundamental understanding of the electromechanical properties of graphene and graphene nanoribbons, SPIE Fellow Akhlesh Lakhtakia, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Nanophotonics, recommends an open-access review paper published in February 2012 in the journal: “Synthesis, electromechanical characterization, and applications of graphene nanostructures.”
Researchers Traian Dumitrica˘ (University of Minnesota), Suneel Kodambaka (UCLA), and Sukky Jun (University of Wyoming at Laramie) present the state-of-the-art techniques of graphene growth on either silicon carbide or a metal, with emphasis on graphene nanoribbons.
Modeling and measurement of mechanical properties of graphene are followed by a discussion of the strain-induced modification of the electronic properties of graphene nanoribbons.
Stanford University researchers demonstrated a fast and precise method of mass producing graphene nanoribbons by “unzipping” or slicing open delicate carbon nanotubes. Their research was published in Nature in 2009.
(Courtesy Hongjie Dai, Stanford University)
“Even in the absence of a band gap, graphene shows remarkable optical properties that make it very promising for photonic and optoelectronic applications,” the researchers say in the journal article. “Graphene nanoribbons are new one-dimensional materials derived from graphene and are important because taking advantage of the lateral quantum confinement provides a route for band-gap opening.”
The electromechanical characterization is directly relevant to the application of graphene in touch-sensitive displays to replace indium tin oxide (ITO), which is increasing in cost. Transparent, graphene-based electrodes could also replace ITO in photovoltaic solar cells and OLEDs and put graphene in the commercial spotlight with new applications.
Source: Journal of Nanophotonics 6, 064501 (2012); doi: 10.1117/1.JNP.6.064501
Journal of Nanophotonics
The Journal of Nanophotonics is a peer-reviewed electronic journal published by SPIE focusing on the fabrication and application of nanostructures that facilitate the generation, propagation, manipulation, and detection of light from the infrared to the ultraviolet.
In addition to research papers, it includes topical special sections, review papers, commentaries, and invited papers.
Other recent highlights from the Journal of Nanophotonics which can be found in the SPIE Digital Library:
• Special section on Nanostructured Thin Films: From Theoretical Aspects to Practical Applications, from research presented at the Nanostructured Thin Films conference at SPIE Optics + Photonics 2011.
• “Liquid crystal active nanophotonics and plasmonics: from science to devices,” an invited paper commemorating the promotion of Ibrahim Abdulhalim to SPIE Fellow.
• “Silicon nanocrystals and their role in photonics,” commentary by José R. Rodríguez Núñez and Jonathan G. C. Veinot of University of Alberta (Canada).
• “Single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy,” commentary by Digambara Patra of American University of Beirut.
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