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Scalable templated growth of graphene nanoribbons on SiC


In spite of its excellent electronic properties, the use of graphene in field-effect transistors is not practical at room temperature without modification of its intrinsically semimetallic nature to introduce a bandgap1,2,3,4. Quantum confinement effects can create a bandgap in graphene nanoribbons, but existing nanoribbon fabrication methods are slow and often produce disordered edges that compromise electronic properties2,3,4. Here, we demonstrate the self-organized growth of graphene nanoribbons on a templated silicon carbide substrate prepared using scalable photolithography and microelectronics processing. Direct nanoribbon growth avoids the need for damaging post-processing. Raman spectroscopy, high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and electrostatic force microscopy confirm that nanoribbons as narrow as 40 nm can be grown at specified positions on the substrate. Our prototype graphene devices exhibit quantum confinement at low temperatures (4 K), and an on–off ratio of 10 and carrier mobilities up to 2,700 cm2 V−1 s−1 at room temperature. We demonstrate the scalability of this approach by fabricating 10,000 top-gated graphene transistors on a 0.24‐cm2 SiC chip, which is the largest density of graphene devices reported to date.

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Figure 1: Process for tailoring of the SiC crystal for selective graphene growth and device fabrication.
Figure 2: Raman and TEM observations of graphene grown selectively on SiC nanofacet (11̄0n) with n ≈ 8.
Figure 3: AFM/EFM observation of self-organized epitaxial graphene nanoribbons of width 40 nm.
Figure 4: Electronic transport measurement of graphene nanoribbons.
Figure 5: Graphene transistor array with a density of 40,000 devices per cm2 prepared on SiC(0001̄).


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The authors acknowledge helpful conversations with A. Zangwill, V. Borovikov and F. Ming. This research was supported by the W.M. Keck Foundation, the National Science Foundation under grant no. DMR-0820382, and the Nanoelectronics Research Initiative Institute for Nanoelectronics Discovery and Exploration (INDEX).

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Authors and Affiliations



W.A.dH. and C.B. conceived the project, and W.A.dH., C.B., M.S. and M.R. designed the experiment. W.A.dH. supervised the project, with assistance from C.B. M.S., M.R. and C.B. performed the experiment. Y.H., J.H. and B.Z. helped with sample preparation. M.R.R. helped with Al2O3 deposition. X.W. and J.H. assisted with low-temperature measurement. M.S. and C.B. analysed the data, and M.S. wrote the paper.

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Correspondence to W. A. de Heer.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Sprinkle, M., Ruan, M., Hu, Y. et al. Scalable templated growth of graphene nanoribbons on SiC. Nature Nanotech 5, 727–731 (2010).

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