Atomic engineering of nanoscale materials

Project Title: Atomic engineering of nanoscale materials

Principle Investigator: Masahiro Ishigami

(Top) Optical image of graphene device and its atomic resolution. (Middle) Scanning electron microscopy of a carbon nanotube device. (Bottom Left) Nanoscale resolution image of graphene device on hexagonal boron nitride. (Bottom Right) Theoretical structure of an oligopeptide on graphite.

Project Description:
A single atomic scale defect or impurity can dramatically affect the properties of nanomaterials and such sensitivity is the foundation of nanotechnology. I use transport measurements and atomic resolution imaging to investigate the impact of defects and impurities on carbon nanotubes, graphene and 2D materials beyond graphene. My laboratory has the unique capability to make nanoscale transistors, which are cleaned down to atomic scale, enabling studies of their properties from the atomically-clean limit. I am able to carry out unique experiments with absolute control over defects and impurities. Such capabilities are unmatched in the United States. My research on the fundamental properties of nanomaterials enables me to develop novel sensor and nanoscale electromechanical (NEMS) device technologies based on carbon nanotubes and graphene. Atomically-clean nanotubes and graphene are used as the starting point for chemical functionalization to discover optical and chemical sensor technologies with ultra high sensitivity and selectivity. I also use these materials to study the fundamental science of nanoscale friction, important for improving NEMS devices. Finally, we use our highly advanced device fabrication capabilities to explore exotic graphene-based optical detector technologies.

Students, who will work with me, will work on integrating biological molecules with devices fabricated from graphene or other 2D materials. Such project is likely to involve (1) using atomic force microscopy to study nanoscale structures of biomolecules, (2) using photolithography to fabricated electronic devices based on 2D materials, and (3) making electronic measurements of 2D materials functionalized with 2D materials.