Most materials in available macroscopic quantities are polycrystalline. Graphene, a recently discovered two-dimensional form of carbon with strong potential for replacing silicon in future electronics1, 2, 3, is no exception. There is growing evidence of the polycrystalline nature of graphene samples obtained using various techniques4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Grain boundaries, intrinsic topological defects of polycrystalline materials14, are expected to markedly alter the electronic transport in graphene. Here, we develop a theory of charge carrier transmission through grain boundaries composed of a periodic array of dislocations in graphene based on the momentum conservation principle. Depending on the grain-boundary structure we find two distinct transport behaviours—either high transparency, or perfect reflection of charge carriers over remarkably large energy ranges. First-principles quantum transport calculations are used to verify and further investigate this striking behaviour. Our study sheds light on the transport properties of large-area graphene samples. Furthermore, purposeful engineering of periodic grain boundaries with tunable transport gaps would allow for controlling charge currents without the need to introduce bulk bandgaps in otherwise semimetallic graphene. The proposed approach can be regarded as a means towards building practical graphene electronics.
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