NIRT: Electronic and Mechanical Devices from Graphene Films

Project: Research project

Project Details


NIRT: Electronic and Mechanical Devices from Graphene Films (NSF proposal ECS-0609243; P.C. Eklund, PI; Penn State University)

This NSF NIRT project focuses on devices built from atomically thin carbon films comprised of a small number (n) of sp2-bonded carbon monolayers (i.e., n graphene-layer film or nGL). Fundamental investigation of the physical properties of these films will be made vs. n to assess how the confinement of electrons to atomically thin and narrow films (stripe geometry) will affect the electronic and mechanical properties. The stripe geometry will also be investigated for the development of chemical sensors where the exposed armchair or zigzag graphene edges are functionalized with end groups that will bind to specific analytes.

Intellectual Merit: We will also investigate the production of highly conducting circuit-interconnects based on doped graphene which theory argues should show promise as 2D supermetals. AFM-based local probe studies, such as scanned gate microscopy and electric force microscopy, will be used to investigate carrier scattering mechanisms and linear dispersion relation in a nGL FETs, respectively. Atomically thin GL stripes and membrane devices will be investigated, respectively, for actuators (nano-muscle) and ultra-sensitive mass detectors. Both of these mechanical devices will require a detailed measurement and understanding of the elastic modulus of nGLs vs n. A strong theoretical component has been built into the project to help elucidate the many physical properties and device behaviors that we will observe in this new class of atomically thin films.

Broader Impacts: We will focus our outreach on the creation of educational units for summer science camps K-16 students. To optimize this activity, we will once again affiliate with the established Action Potential Science Experience (APSE) program, a K-16 Penn State outreach and service-learning program where university faculty, researchers, graduate and undergraduate students will teach hands-on, science-based laboratories during the summer.

Effective start/end date7/1/066/30/11


  • National Science Foundation: $1,000,000.00


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