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Rensselaer Research Review Spring 2007 * Feature Articles Awards & Grants Recent Patents Accolades
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Nanotube Adhesive Sticks Better Than a Gecko's Foot
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Graphene Nanoelectronics: Making Tomorrow's Computers from a Pencil Trace Above: A representation of conduction channels on a graphene nanoribbon interfaced with gold contacts.
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By Michael Mullaney

A key discovery at Rensselaer could help advance the role of graphene as a possible heir to copper and silicon in nanoelectronics.

Graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon, eluded scientists for years but was finally made in the laboratory in 2004 with the help of everyday, store-bought clear adhesive tape. Graphite, the common material used in most pencils, is made up of countless layers of graphene. Researchers simply used the gentle stickiness of tape to break apart these layers.

Saroj Nayak, an associate professor in Rensselaer’s department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy, has worked with graduate student Philip Shemella and others for two years to determine how graphene’s extremely efficient conductive properties can be exploited for use in nanoelectronics. After running dozens of robust computer simulations, the group has demonstrated for the first time that the length, as well as the width, of graphene directly impacts the material’s conduction properties.

Nayak, Shemella, and their team outlined their findings in the report “Energy Gaps in Zero-Dimensional Graphene Nanoribbons” published in the July 23 issue of Applied Physics Letters.

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