Article

Large-scale solution synthesis of narrow graphene nanoribbons

  • Nature Communications 5, Article number: 3189 (2014)
  • doi:10.1038/ncomms4189
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Abstract

According to theoretical studies, narrow graphene nanoribbons with atomically precise armchair edges and widths of <2 nm have a bandgap comparable to that in silicon (1.1 eV), which makes them potentially promising for logic applications. Different top–down fabrication approaches typically yield ribbons with width >10 nm and have limited control over their edge structure. Here we demonstrate a novel bottom–up approach that yields gram quantities of high-aspect-ratio graphene nanoribbons, which are only ~1 nm wide and have atomically smooth armchair edges. These ribbons are shown to have a large electronic bandgap of ~1.3 eV, which is significantly higher than any value reported so far in experimental studies of graphene nanoribbons prepared by top–down approaches. These synthetic ribbons could have lengths of >100 nm and self-assemble in highly ordered few-micrometer-long ‘nanobelts’ that can be visualized by conventional microscopy techniques, and potentially used for the fabrication of electronic devices.

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Acknowledgements

This work was funded by the Nebraska Public Power District through the Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research (#12-00-13), the Nebraska Research Initiative and the NSF through Nebraska MRSEC (DMR-0820521) and EPSCoR (EPS-1004094). E.B. acknowledges the support from the UNL UCARE programme. We thank Gerard S. Harbison and Monica Kinde-Carson for the help with solid state NMR, Rafal Korlacki and Xiao Cheng Zeng for valuable discussions and Nebraska Center for Mass Spectrometry for the help with MS characterization.

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Chemistry, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588, USA

    • Timothy H. Vo
    • , Mikhail Shekhirev
    • , Martha D. Morton
    • , Eric Berglund
    • , Peter M. Wilson
    •  & Alexander Sinitskii
  2. Department of Physics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588, USA

    • Donna A. Kunkel
    • , Lingmei Kong
    • , Peter A. Dowben
    •  & Axel Enders
  3. Nebraska Center for Materials and Nanoscience, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588, USA

    • Peter A. Dowben
    • , Axel Enders
    •  & Alexander Sinitskii

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Contributions

T.H.V. and A.S. conceived the experiments. T.H.V. developed the synthetic route to GNRs, performed all reactions and most of characterization of GNRs, including NMR, UV–vis-IR, photoluminescence and Raman spectroscopy, and AFM. M.D.M. assisted with NMR and interpreted the NMR data. E.B. and M.S. performed AFM and processed the images. M.S. performed SEM and EDX analysis of GNRs and some of the UV–vis-IR measurements. D.A.K. and A.E. performed STM and analysed the data. L.K. and P.A.D. performed PES/IPES and interpreted the data. P.M.W. assisted with XPS and Raman spectroscopy. T.H.V. and A.S. co-wrote the paper. A.S. supervised the project.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alexander Sinitskii.

Supplementary information

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    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures 1-11, Supplementary Notes 1-2 and Supplementary References

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