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