Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Pushing boundaries of electron microscopy to unlock the potential of graphene

Date:
November 15, 2012
Source:
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Summary:
Electron microscopy is providing unprecedented views of the individual atoms in graphene, offering scientists a chance to unlock the material's full potential for uses from engine combustion to consumer electronics.

The atomic resolution Z-contrast images show individual silicon atoms bonded differently in graphene.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Electron microscopy at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory is providing unprecedented views of the individual atoms in graphene, offering scientists a chance to unlock the material's full potential for uses from engine combustion to consumer electronics.

Related Articles


Graphene crystals were first isolated in 2004. They are two-dimensional (one-atom in thickness), harder than diamonds and far stronger than steel, providing unprecedented stiffness, electrical and thermal properties. By viewing the atomic and bonding configurations of individual graphene atoms, scientists are able to suggest ways to optimize materials so they are better suited for specific applications.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, a team of researchers from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Vanderbilt University used aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy to study the atomic and electronic structure of silicon impurities in graphene.

"We have used new experimental and computational tools to reveal the bonding characteristics of individual impurities in graphene. For instance, we can now differentiate between a non-carbon atom that is two-dimensionally or three-dimensionally bonded in graphene. In fact, we were finally able to directly visualize a bonding configuration that was predicted in the 1930s but has never been observed experimentally," said ORNL researcher Juan-Carlos Idrobo. Electrons in orbit around an atom fall into four broad categories -- s, p, d and f -- based on factors including symmetry and energy levels.

"We observed that silicon d-states participate in the bonding only when the silicon is two-dimensionally coordinated," Idrobo said. "There are many elements such as chromium, iron, and copper where the d-states or d-electrons play a dominant role in determining how the element bonds in a material."

By studying the atomic and electronic structure of graphene and identifying any impurities, researchers can better predict which elemental additions will improve the material's performance.

Slightly altering the chemical makeup of graphene could customize the material, making it more suitable for a variety of applications. For example, one elemental addition may make the material a better replacement for the platinum catalytic converters in cars, while another may allow it to function better in electronic devices or as a membrane.

Graphene has the potential to replace the inner workings of electronic gadgets people use every day because of its ability to conduct heat and electricity and its optical transparency. It offers a cheaper and more abundant alternative to indium, a limited resource that is widely used in the transparent conducting coating present in almost all electronic display devices such as digital displays in cars, TVs, laptops and handheld gadgets like cell phones, tablets and music players.

Researchers expect the imaging techniques demonstrated at ORNL to be used to understand the atomic structures and bonding characteristics of atoms in other two-dimensional materials, too.

This research was supported by National Science Foundation and the DOE Office of Science. Researchers also made use of Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Shared Research Equipment User Facility along with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, both of which are also supported by DOE's Office of Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Wu Zhou, Myron Kapetanakis, Micah Prange, Sokrates Pantelides, Stephen Pennycook, Juan-Carlos Idrobo. Direct Determination of the Chemical Bonding of Individual Impurities in Graphene. Physical Review Letters, 2012; 109 (20) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.206803

Cite This Page:

DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Pushing boundaries of electron microscopy to unlock the potential of graphene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115172038.htm>.
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (2012, November 15). Pushing boundaries of electron microscopy to unlock the potential of graphene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115172038.htm
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "Pushing boundaries of electron microscopy to unlock the potential of graphene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121115172038.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Vibrating Bicycle Senses Traffic

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Feb. 26, 2015) Dutch scientists have developed a smart bicycle that uses sensors, wireless technology and video to warn riders of traffic dangers. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

In Japan, Robot Dogs Are for Life -- And Death

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Robot dogs are the perfect pet for some in Japan who go to repairmen-turned-vets when their pooch breaks down - while a full Buddhist funeral ceremony awaits those who don&apos;t make it. Duration: 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

London Show Dissects History of Forensic Science

AFP (Feb. 25, 2015) Forensic science, which has fascinated generations with its unravelling of gruesome crime mysteries, is being put under the microscope in an exhibition of real criminal investigations in London. Duration: 00:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins