Graphene, an atom-thick sheet of carbon, has been the subject of much research thanks to its extraordinary electrical properties. Unfortunately it lacks a bandgap, which is central to modern electronics. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology however, suggest a new kind of switching could be employed to bring graphene to electronics.
Graphene nanoribbons are capable of a property known as ballistic transport, which means electrons are able to flow similar to how photons travel in an optical cable. The electrons will travel at high speed, with low resistance, and with little scattering. It is this last feature the researchers are exploiting as they found that touching an electrical probe to graphene nanoribbons causes the electrons to scatter, and increase resistance.
This ability to affect the resistance of the nanoribbons could potentially be used to create new kinds of electronics switches for the material. Perhaps in time such switches could be used to create graphene-based electronics.
Source: Georgia Institute of Technology