Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) in Switzerland, the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Germany, and the University of California, Berkeley grew graphene ribbons exactly nine atoms wide with a regular armchair edge from precursor molecules.
These molecules are evaporated in an ultra-high vacuum, and after several process steps are combined on a gold base to form the desired nanoribbons of about one nanometer in width and up to 50 nanometers long.
The researchers also integrated the graphene ribbons into nanotransistors, but to have the desired properties, the dielectric layer of silicon oxide needed to be 50 nanometers thick, which in turn influenced the behavior of the electrons.
The researchers were able to massively reduce this layer by using hafnium oxide instead of silicon oxide as the dielectric material; this change made the layer only 1.5 nanometers thick and the "on"-current is orders of magnitude higher.
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