Chemical functionalization of graphene


Researchers from Northwestern University in Illinois have made a significant advance on the use of graphene in electronics, or other applications. Graphene, a sheet of carbon to the thickness of an atom, attracts the attention of scientists and engineers since it was first isolated in 2004 at the University of Manchester, thanks to its interesting properties : being monoplane gives electronic properties that make it a very promising candidate to replace silicon in electronics of the future, but it may have applications in other fields such as chemical and biological sensors, or for the manufacture of solar cells more efficient.

The physics of graphene has been widely studied and is well controlled, but this is not the case with its chemical functionalization, ie able to improve its properties or combine with other materials or molecules active. The research team, led by Mark Hersam, professor of materials science and engineering in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University, has identified the conditions for its chemical functionalization with an organic semiconductor, the PTCDA or more precisely the perylene-3 ,4,9,10-tetracarboxylic-dianhydridre, formed on the surface of graphene obtained by epitaxy. The PTCDA self assemble into a molecular monolayer almost completely devoid of defects, after checking the scanning tunneling microscope (whose spatial resolution is less than the size of atoms), which shows a spectrum different from that of pure graphene. In addition, monolayers of PTDCA are stable at room temperature and atmospheric pressure, opening the possibility of using it as a base coat to hang other materials fairly easily.

The chemical functionalization of graphene with the PTCDA will accelerate the development of nanoelectronics based on graphene, which probably replace silicon futures.

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