New research published today, shows how light can be used to control the electrical properties of graphene, paving the way for graphene-based optoelectronic devices and highly sensitive sensors.
This year's Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded for research into graphene, recognising its potential for many applications in modern life, from high-speed electronics to touchscreen technology. The UK's National Physical Laboratory, along with a team of international scientists, have further developed our understanding of graphene by showing that when this remarkable material is combined with particular polymers, its electrical properties can be precisely controlled by light and exploited in a new generation of optoelectronic devices. The polymers keep memory of light and therefore the graphene device retains its modified properties until the memory is erased by heating.
Light-modified graphene chips have already been used at NPL in ultra-precision experiments to measure the quantum of the electrical resistance.
In the future, similar polymers could be used to effectively 'translate' information from their surroundings and influence how graphene behaves. This effect could be exploited to develop robust reliable sensors for smoke, poisonous gases, or any targeted molecule.
The research team included scientists from the National Physical Laboratory (UK), Chalmers University of Technology (Sweden), University of Copenhagen (Denmark), University of California Berkeley (USA), Linköping University (Sweden) and Lancaster University (UK). ###
The paper 'Non-volatile Photo-Chemical Gating of an Epitaxial Graphene-Polymer Heterostructure' is published in the Journal of Advanced Materials on 7th January 2011. It can be viewed here: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/
Advanced Materials. doi: 10.1002/adma.201003993
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Contact: David Lewis email@example.com 084-568-01865 National Physical Laboratory