Bottom-up Synthesis of Sub-10 Nm Semiconducting Graphene Nanoribbons with Smooth Armchair Edges on Ge(001)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015: 17:00
Lake Ontario (Hilton Chicago)
M. S. Arnold, R. Jacobberger (University of Wisconsin-Madison), B. Kiraly (Northwestern University), M. Fortin-Deschenes (Polytechnique Montreal), P. Lévesque (Department of Chemistry, Université de Montréal), K. McElhinny, R. Delgado, S. Singha Roy (University of Wisconsin-Madison), A. Mannix (Northwestern University), M. G. Lagally, P. Evans (University of Wisconsin-Madison), R. Martel (Université de Montréal), M. C. Hersam (Northwestern University), and N. Guisinger (Argonne National Laboratory)
The rational synthesis of graphene nanoribbons that are semiconducting with sub-10 nm width, controlled crystallographic orientation, and well-defined edges on non-metallic substrates has been a significant challenge. The growth of nanoribbons on metal substrates precludes their direct use in semiconducting electronics due to the conducting substrate, and the direct synthesis of nanoribbons in solution is complicated by challenges of their post-synthetic assembly.

In this talk, we demonstrate the scalable synthesis of graphene nanoribbons from the bottom-up via chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on Ge(001). Low energy electron diffraction (LEED) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) show that the ribbons are self-orienting ±2.9° from the Ge[110] directions and are self-defining. The nanoribbons have predominately smooth armchair edges that give rise to electron interference patterns that are indicative of the high quality of the edges. By tuning the precursor flux, growth time, and growth temperature, the ribbon anisotropy and growth kinetics can be tailored to yield ribbons with controlled width < 10 nm and aspect ratio > 60. Compared to previous reports of the growth of low aspect ratio crystals of graphene on Ge, we find that in order to realize high aspect ratio nanoribbons, it is critical to operate in a regime in which the growth rate is especially slow, on the order of 5 nm/h for growth in the width direction. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy shows that the ribbons have electronic structures that are consistent with semiconductors with bandgaps that are > 500 meV and that vary inversely with width.

This work is important because unlike continuous two-dimensional graphene, which is semimetallic, one-dimensional graphene nanoribbons can be semiconducting, allowing for the substantial modulation of their conductance and enabling their application in semiconductor logic, optoelectronics, photonics, and sensors. Moreover, the direct synthesis of ultranarrow and smooth graphene nanoribbons on Ge demonstrated here provides a scalable, high throughput pathway for integrating semiconducting graphene directly on conventional large-area semiconductor wafer platforms that are compatible with planar processing.