The overarching goal of this project is to learn how to open up a technologically relevant bandgap in graphene via top-down nanopatterning and nanomanufacturing approaches that can be scaled to large-areas. Our specific objectives are to: (1) tailor and reduce nanopattern- size and shape to achieve larger bandgaps > 0.5 eV; (2) learn how to scale to ~5x5 cm2 or larger ?wafers? of semiconducting graphene; (3) control the atomic functionalization of graphene edges which become increasingly important as feature-size is reduced; and (4) demonstrate proof-of-principal wafer-wide arrays of semiconducting graphene electronic devices. Our approach for nanomanufacturing large bandgap graphene in a scalable fashion will be to employ self-directed lithographic templates. The templates will be based on block copolymers and small molecules that will be tailored to self-assemble on graphene with unprecedented patterning resolution and will be used in conjunction with controlled top-down patterning to control the electronic behaviors of graphene.
Broader significant and importance: Graphene has received substantial attention recently because of its exceptional electronic, optical, mechanical, and thermal properties. While unpatterned graphene is not a semiconductor, nanopatterned graphene acts like one, meaning that its electrical conductivity can be switched ?ON? and ?OFF?. This has spurred excitement for semiconducting graphene in electronics, infrared optoelectronics and photonics, biosensing, and solar energy harvesting in hopes of exploiting graphene?s exceptional properties for these applications. The proposed research will culminate in novel nanomanufacturing processes that will enable the fabrication of large-area ?wafers? of technologically relevant semiconducting graphene. The semiconducting graphene ?wafers? will be transformative and powerful materials platforms for launching a wide range of next-generation applications based on carbon nanotechnology. The principal investigators will also mentor undergraduate and under-represented students in research and participate in a course at UW-Madison designed to allow bench scientists and science communicators to develop and use effective strategies for communicating with the general public about science and technology, particularly about nanotechnology.