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Contact and edge effects in graphene devices

Abstract

Electrical transport studies on graphene have been focused mainly on the linear dispersion region around the Fermi level1,2 and, in particular, on the effects associated with the quasiparticles in graphene behaving as relativistic particles known as Dirac fermions3,4,5. However, some theoretical work has suggested that several features of electron transport in graphene are better described by conventional semiconductor physics6,7. Here we use scanning photocurrent microscopy to explore the impact of electrical contacts and sheet edges on charge transport through graphene devices. The photocurrent distribution reveals the presence of potential steps that act as transport barriers at the metal contacts. Modulations in the electrical potential within the graphene sheets are also observed. Moreover, we find that the transition from the p- to n-type regime induced by electrostatic gating does not occur homogeneously within the sheets. Instead, at low carrier densities we observe the formation of p-type conducting edges surrounding a central n-type channel.

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Figure 1: Photocurrent response of a graphene device.
Figure 2: Spatially resolved photocurrent maps at various transport regimes of a graphene device.
Figure 3: Quantitative determination of the potential steps at the metal–graphene interface.
Figure 4: Invasive nature of metal contacts to graphene.

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Acknowledgements

The authors gratefully thank J. Smet and D. Obergfell for help with the preparation of the graphene monolayers, and A. Forment-Aliaga and A. Sagar for the Raman spectroscopy measurements.

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Correspondence to Eduardo J. H. Lee.

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Lee, E., Balasubramanian, K., Weitz, R. et al. Contact and edge effects in graphene devices. Nature Nanotech 3, 486–490 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2008.172

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