New research from the US has hinted that we will be able to control the electronic properties of graphene with even more finesse than previously imagined. According to researchers at UC, it is possoble to stretch the honeycomb lattice of graphene in such a way that tiny bubbles form in the layer of carbon atoms
In the nano bubbles, electrons form up neatly into quantised energy levels, as if they were circling in magnetic field of up to 300 Tesla. Electrons are extremely unlikely to experience a field this strong at the behest of mankind; even the surface of a white dwarf star only clocks in at a third of this value.
The discovery opens the door to even more precise control of the electronic properties of graphene.
According to Michael Crommie, professor of physics at UC Berkeley: "This gives us a new handle on how to control how electrons move in graphene, and thus to control graphene's electronic properties, through strain. By controlling where the electrons bunch up and at what energy, you could cause them to move more easily or less easily through graphene, in effect, controlling their conductivity, optical or microwave properties. Control of electron movement is the most essential part of any electronic device."
The work is reported in Science, and many more details are here.