Graphene Semiconductor

 

Generally, graphene has been described to be a 2-dimensional form – where single sheets of carbon atoms are perfectly arranged to form a standard graphene structure. It may seem like a very easy process, however, the reality is not really as simple as it seems. The reality is that graphene can create wrinkles, making its structure even more complicated. Furthermore, graphene is also able to interact with substrates which add more complexity to its structure and form.

 

Based on research that has been published by Nature Communications, the scientists from RIKEN have identified that wrinkles found in graphene is able to decrease the electrons’ motion to a single dimension, organizing a structure that resembles a junction which alters from a zero-gap conductor to a semiconductor, then back to a zero-gap conductor.  Furthermore, these researchers have utilized a scanning and tunneling microscope tip to control and maneuver the formation of these wrinkles, opening a path to the development of a graphene semiconductor, not by chemically adding and including other elements, but by controlling the structure of carbon itself in the form of graphene.

This discovery started when the group was examining and analyzing the creation of graphene films with the use of chemical vapor deposition – a process considered to be extremely reliable. These researchers were working to create graphene on nickel substrates yet this method’s success will greatly depend on the cooling speed and temperature. The researchers were able to take an image of the tiny wrinkles by utilizing the scanning and tunneling microscopy; with that, they have identified the presence of band gap openings which indicate that it was possible for graphene’s wrinkles to act as semiconductors. Typically, electron holes and electrons move freely through conductors without the presence of band gaps; yet once a semiconductor, there will be band gaps present between the electrons and permitted electron states that only passes through the gaps with specific conditions. This only shows that graphene could become a graphene semiconductor, depending on the wrinkles there.

 

 

Graphene Applications

Below is a list of various applications of graphene that can be utilized for a variety of things:

  • Transistors

 

Graphene, which is made up of single layers of carbon atoms that are organized to form a honeycomb-shaped lattice, displays a wide range of outstanding graphene properties that are highly notable; and ever since it was discovered in the year 2003, experts have discovered that graphene had increased strength, plus electric and thermal conductivity. Electric conductivity makes this perfect for small contacts within electric circuits, plus it would also make upa transistor’s component itself.

 

To be able to achieve this, graphene needs to behave as a conductor and also as a graphene semiconductor, this being the key to the turning on or off switching operations.

  • Solar Cells

 

To be able to absorb sunlight, solar cells rely mainly on semiconductors. These are created from an element which is similar to silicon that also has double layers of electrons. On the first layer, electrons present stay very close to the semiconductor, plus they are also more calm and steady compared to the other layer. As for this other layer, the electrons present can move freely, thus creating a flow of electricity. The layers of graphene overlap with each other which means that lesser light energy is required to allow electrons to freely jump and move between each layer.