Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New test reveals purity of graphene: Scientists use terahertz waves to spot contaminants

Date:
August 13, 2014
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
A new test using terahertz waves can check graphene for atmospheric and other contaminants that affect its electronic performance.

Rice and Osaka researchers have come up with a simple method to find contaminants on atom-thick graphene. By putting graphene on a layer of indium phosphide, which emits terahertz waves when excited by a laser pulse, they can measure and map changes in its electrical conductivity.
Credit: Rice and Osaka universities

Graphene may be tough, but those who handle it had better be tender. The environment surrounding the atom-thick carbon material can influence its electronic performance, according to researchers at Rice and Osaka universities who have come up with a simple way to spot contaminants.

Because it's so easy to accidently introduce impurities into graphene, labs led by physicists Junichiro Kono of Rice and Masayoshi Tonouchi of Osaka's Institute of Laser Engineering discovered a way to detect and identify out-of-place molecules on its surface through terahertz spectroscopy.

They expect the finding to be important to manufacturers considering the use of graphene in electronic devices.

The research was published this week by Nature's open-access online journal Scientific Reports. It was made possible by the Rice-based NanoJapan program, through which American undergraduates conduct summer research internships in Japanese labs.

Even a single molecule of a foreign substance can contaminate graphene enough to affect its electrical and optical properties, Kono said. Unfortunately (and perhaps ironically), that includes electrical contacts.

"Traditionally, in order to measure conductivity in a material, one has to attach contacts and then do electrical measurements," said Kono, whose lab specializes in terahertz research. "But our method is contact-less."

That's possible because the compound indium phosphide emits terahertz waves when excited. The researchers used it as a substrate for graphene. Hitting the combined material with femtosecond pulses from a near-infrared laser prompted the indium phosphide to emit terahertz back through the graphene. Imperfections as small as a stray oxygen molecule on the graphene were picked up by a spectrometer.

"The change in the terahertz signal due to adsorption of molecules is remarkable," Kono said. "Not just the intensity but also the waveform of emitted terahertz radiation totally and dynamically changes in response to molecular adsorption and desorption. The next step is to explore the ultimate sensitivity of this unique technique for gas sensing."

The technique can measure both the locations of contaminating molecules and changes over time. "The laser gradually removes oxygen molecules from the graphene, changing its density, and we can see that," Kono said.

The experiment involved growing pristine graphene via chemical vapor deposition and transferring it to an indium phosphide substrate. Laser pulses generated coherent bursts of terahertz radiation through a built-in surface electric field of the indium phosphide substrate that changed due to charge transfer between the graphene and the contaminating molecules. The terahertz wave, when visualized, reflected the change.

The experimental results are a warning for electronics manufacturers. "For any future device designs using graphene, we have to take into account the influence of the surroundings," said Kono. Graphene in a vacuum or sandwiched between noncontaminating layers would probably be stable, but exposure to air would contaminate it, he said.

The Rice and Osaka labs are continuing to collaborate on a project to measure the terahertz conductivity of graphene on various substrates, he said.

The paper's authors include Rice alumna Mika Tabata, who conducted research as a 2012 NanoJapan participant in the Tonouchi lab, and graduate student Minjie Wang; associate professors Iwao Kawayama and Hironaru Murakami and graduate students Yuki Sano and Khandoker Abu Salek of Osaka; and Robert Vajtai, a senior faculty fellow, and Pulickel Ajayan, the Benjamin M. and Mary Greenwood Anderson Professor in Engineering, professor of materials science and nanoengineering and of chemistry, and chair of the Department of Materials Science and NanoEngineering, both at Rice.

The National Science Foundation (NSF); the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science; the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology-Japan and the Murata Science Foundation supported the research. NanoJapan is funded by the NSF's Partnerships for International Research and Education program.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. The original article was written by Mike Williams. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Sano, I. Kawayama, M. Tabata, K. A. Salek, H. Murakami, M. Wang, R. Vajtai, P. M. Ajayan, J. Kono, M. Tonouchi. Imaging molecular adsorption and desorption dynamics on graphene using terahertz emission spectroscopy. Scientific Reports, 2014; 4 DOI: 10.1038/srep06046

Cite This Page:

Rice University. "New test reveals purity of graphene: Scientists use terahertz waves to spot contaminants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813174424.htm>.
Rice University. (2014, August 13). New test reveals purity of graphene: Scientists use terahertz waves to spot contaminants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813174424.htm
Rice University. "New test reveals purity of graphene: Scientists use terahertz waves to spot contaminants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140813174424.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Apple's iOS8 Includes New 'Killswitch' To Curb Theft

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple's new operating system, iOS 8, comes with Apple's killswitch feature already activated, unlike all the models before it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

Stocks Hit All-Time High as Fed Holds Steady

AP (Sep. 17, 2014) The Federal Reserve signaled Wednesday that it plans to keep a key interest rate at a record low because a broad range of U.S. economic measures remain subpar. Stocks hit an all-time high on the news. (Sept. 17) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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