Our MURI Center: New Materials Approaches for Future Graphene-Based Devices

An Overview


Introduction: Graphene presents an unprecedented opportunity for enabling new classes of electronic, optoelectronic, and electromechanical devices and sensors.  Made of one of the most chemically 「malleable」 materials, carbon, graphene, which is a monolayer-thick crystal of sp2-bonded carbon, has extraordinary electron-transport properties. Its monolayer thickness yields exquisite sensitivity to changes in environment, and its mechanical and thermal properties equal or exceed those of the best conventional materials. Despite these attractive features, much remains to be done to develop new synthesis methods, create reproducible device structures, and understand graphene's unusual electronic and mechanical properties.  We will focus on applying graphene's distinctive physical, chemical, electronic, and optical properties to new classes of device technologies. In our MURI, two top US university research teams, which are leaders in graphene devices and materials research, will collaborate to develop the materials technologies for a focused set of novel devices classes, including lateral field-effect devices, MEMS resonators, and terahertz plasmonic oscillators, each exploiting graphene's unique properties.


Goal of MURI: Our MURI is a five-year, multi-university effort, involving Columbia and Cornell, and funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research in September 2009. The full potential of graphene devices is limited by our ability to grow or fabricate large single-crystal samples.  In addition, the performance of graphene devices depends strongly on the chemical and mechanical environment of the material, presenting distinctive challenges for device fabrication, including growing surface-passivating dielectric-films and reducing substrate interactions. At the same time, the intrinsic limits to graphene performance, including mean free paths and phase coherence lengths, saturation velocities and nonequilibrium transport, and light-matter coupling, remain poorly understood. The goal of this MURI is to develop new growth and fabrication technologies for graphene and graphene-related materials that, when coupled with improved understanding of its critical underlying physical properties, will enable novel device concepts.  The research will also focus on three specific advanced electronic and nanoscale electromechanical devices that illustrate the potential for new or dramatically enhanced functionality.


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