Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials U.S. Department of Energy

Graphene Research at the Center for Nanoscale Materials

graphene research

The 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics was recently awarded to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.” Graphene is an extraordinary material made up of hexagonally packed carbon atoms that are sp2 bonded. A sheet of graphene is only one atom thick making it nature’s version of an ideal two-dimensional material. At the Center for Nanoscale Materials we are exploring state-of-the-art synthesis, characterization, processing, and novel applications of graphene. With the highest resolution microscopes we are able to characterize the structural, electronic, and chemical properties of graphene at the atomic-scale. These characterization tools have allowed for the identification of material defects in graphene, and to guide the optimization of both established and novel large-scale synthesis. In addition to synthesis and characterization, we are actively modifying the physical properties of graphene through chemical modification, engineering, and nanolithography. Some of the direct applications of our graphene research include advanced solar cell design, enhancing electronic material performance and efficiency, and the utilization of graphene as a supporting substrate to probe basic energy conversion processes.

The physical properties of an individual graphene sheet are exceedingly impressive. Electrons in graphene behave as relativistic particles due to the linear nature of the band structur at low energies. The band-structure and symmetry of graphene result in electron mobilities that are two orders of magnitude greater than observed in silicon. In addition, graphene is highly transparent, thermally conductive, flexible, chemically inert, biologically compatible, and 200 times stronger than steel. There are numerous research efforts that are trying to utilize the properties of graphene for a variety of applications and technological advancements. All of this began just six years ago with scotch tape and graphite as Andre and Konstantin isolated and electrically probed graphene for the first time. Overall, graphene is an advanced material that has become an integral area of research at the CNM.

Collaborators: Nathan Guisinger, Seth Darling, and Jeffrey Guest

In the News

October 2010

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