DEC 16, 2020 8:24 AM PST

Applying photocycloaddition to modify graphene

Research published recently in the journal Nature Chemistry reports on the development of a new technique that uses a chemical reaction called photocycloaddition to modify graphene. Graphene is a material composed of the thickness of one atom of carbon. Though made up of only carbon, like coal, or graphite, or diamond, its powers lay in the bonds of its carbon atoms, which make it one of the strongest materials known on Earth. Graphene is used in industrial applications ranging from electronics to biomedicine to aerospace.

But although graphene’s physical, optical and mechanical properties are incredible, it has its own limitations. "No other material has properties similar to graphene, yet unlike semiconductors used in electronics, it lacks a band gap. In electronics, this gap is a space in which there are no energy levels that can be occupied by electrons. Yet it is essential for interacting with light," explained Professor Federico Rosei from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique’s Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre.

The lack of a band gap in the material motivated an international collaboration between scientists to address this dilemma. "The multidisciplinary group of researchers from Canada, China, Denmark, France, and the United Kingdom succeeded in modifying graphene so as to create a band gap. Current research is rather fundamental but could have repercussions over the next few years in optoelectronics, such as in the fabrication of photodetectors or in the field of solar energy. These include the manufacture of high-performance photovoltaic cells for converting solar energy into electricity, or the field of nanoelectronics, for the extreme miniaturization of devices," commented Professor Rosei.

The team was able to modify the structure and properties of graphene to introduce a band gap into the material through the process of photocycloaddition, which alters the bonds between atoms using ultraviolet light. The authors describe the hybridization process in the following manner:

“We demonstrate a spatially selective photocycloaddition reaction of a two-dimensional molecular network with defect-free basal plane of single-layer graphene. Directly visualized at the submolecular level, the cycloaddition is triggered by ultraviolet irradiation in ultrahigh vacuum, requiring no aid of the graphene Moiré pattern. The reaction involves both [2+2] and [2+4] cycloadditions.”

Though still in its preliminary phases of development, the researchers hold high hopes for their approach, saying it will ultimately enhance the designing and engineering of graphene-based optoelectronic and microelectronic devices

Sources: Nature Chemistry, Eureka Alert

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
AUG 03, 2021
Neuroscience
A Tree Falls in the Forest: A Neuroscientist on the World Our Brain Creates
AUG 03, 2021
A Tree Falls in the Forest: A Neuroscientist on the World Our Brain Creates
Neuroscientist, Donald Hoffman, thinks a mathematical model will solve the hard problem of consciousness
AUG 21, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Schools of Fish Inspire 'Microswimmers' that Could Revolutionize Drug Delivery
AUG 21, 2021
Schools of Fish Inspire 'Microswimmers' that Could Revolutionize Drug Delivery
When 'microswimmers'- microscopic objects that can move in liquid environments- move in the same direction insid ...
AUG 26, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
The Most Detailed Map of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Radio Telescope
AUG 26, 2021
The Most Detailed Map of the Andromeda Galaxy taken by Radio Telescope
Sitting at 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy is the closest galaxy to our own Milky Way. Since it&rsquo ...
SEP 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
When a Meteor Destroyed an Ancient City, It May Have Inspired Biblical Tales
SEP 29, 2021
When a Meteor Destroyed an Ancient City, It May Have Inspired Biblical Tales
This meteor may have caused a blast as large as the one in the Tunguska Event, and totally flattened a city.
OCT 06, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
2021's Nobel Prize in Physics Recognizes Foundational Work in Climate Science
OCT 06, 2021
2021's Nobel Prize in Physics Recognizes Foundational Work in Climate Science
The 2021 lineup for one of the world’s most prestigious awards has been announced, and the medal for physics has b ...
OCT 13, 2021
Plants & Animals
A New Approach to Detecting Fraudulent Food
OCT 13, 2021
A New Approach to Detecting Fraudulent Food
Food fraud is the act of deceiving someone about the food they are receiving, such as its quality or where it came from, ...
Loading Comments...