Having a Graphene Cake and Cutting It TooCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: July 31, 2012 09:03AM
Graphene, that atom-thick plane of carbon with extraordinary strength and conductivity, is being investigated for replacing other materials in electronics. Several challenges have to be overcome first though including the issue of mass production and implementing this 2D structure in 3D systems. Researchers at the University of Manchester, where graphene was originally discovered, have recently found that graphene can be built up into a 3D device by layering it with an insulating material.
Like a multilayered cake, the device the researchers created consisted of graphene 'cake' with an insulating layer between. The researchers measured the conductivity of this device and then used an ion beam to cut a slice out of it. The researchers cut this slice to get an edge-view of the device, which is needed for studying the structure's properties, such as any impurities.
What the researchers found was that despite there being ten layers to it, there were few impurities and what were present were in isolated pockets that would not affect the device's performance. This is an important finding for the potential use of 3D crystals of graphene, similar to this cake. Now the researchers intend to use this same edge viewing method to analyze other graphene devices of theirs.