UWM physics postdoctoral researchers identify method to “tune” graphene

A narrow enough ribbon will transform a conductor into a semiconductor. Using graphene ribbons of unimaginably small widths – just several atoms across – a group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) has found a novel way to “tune” the wonder material, causing the extremely efficient conductor of electricity to act as a semiconductor.

In principle, UWM physics postdoctoral researchers Yaoyi Li’s and Mingxing Chen’s method for producing these narrow ribbons – roughly equal to the diameter of a strand of human DNA – and manipulating the ribbons’ electrical conductivity could be used to produce nano-devices. But before it can be applied to nanotechnology, researchers must first find an easy method of controlling the flow of electrons in order to devise even a simple on-off switch.