University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researchers have developed a method to tune graphene ribbons to act as a semiconductor. Graphene is an extremely efficient conductor of electricity, but for it to be applied to nanotechnology; a method to control the flow of electrons needs to be established.
The researchers used scanning-tunneling microscopy to look at graphene ribbons to determine how narrow the ribbon width needed to be to alter the electrical properties. They found that the narrower the ribbon becomes, the more tunable the material was. The team discovered that when two edges of narrow ribbon interact, it transforms the ribbon into a semiconductor, with tunable assets comparable to silicon. This new method of tuning graphene could lead to the development of atomic-scale components with different electrical behaviors.