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New measurements of charge dynamics of graphene may guide potential nanotechnology applications

To better understand the potential of graphene for nanotech applications, scientists in California, New York, and Florida measured the dynamics of how charges move in response to electromagnetic radiation in a 50-micrometer square of graphene integrated into a solid state electronic device. Their very precise measurements confirmed many of the unusual effects theoretically predicted for graphene, but they also discovered effects of unanticipated additional interactions, which are not yet understood. From a Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory new release “Surprising Graphene: Honing in on graphene electronics with infrared synchrotron radiation” (via ScienceDaily):

Graphene is the two-dimensional crystalline form of carbon: a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in hexagons, like a sheet of chicken wire with an atom at each nexus. As free-standing objects, such two-dimensional crystals were believed impossible to create — even to exist — until physicists at the University of Manchester actually made graphene in 2004.

Now researchers at the Department of Energy’s Advanced Light Source (ALS), from DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California at San Diego (UCSD), have measured the extraordinary properties of graphene with an accuracy never before achieved.

The results confirm many of the strangest features of the unusual material but also reveal significant departures from theoretical predictions. And they point the way to novel practical applications, such as tunable optical modulators for communications and other nanoscale electronics.

The research was published in Nature Physics (abstract).
—Jim

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