Conductance enlargement in picoscale electroburnt graphene nanojunctions

Edited by Philip Kim, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and accepted by the Editorial Board January 21, 2015 (received for review September 26, 2014)
February 17, 2015
112 (9) 2658-2663

Significance

Continuation of Moore’s law to the sub–10-nm scale requires the development of new technologies for creating electrode nanogaps, in architectures which allow a third electrostatic gate. Electroburnt graphene junctions (EGNs) have the potential to fulfill this need, provided their properties at the moment of gap formation can be understood and controlled. In contrast with mechanically controlled break junctions, whose conductance decreases monotonically as the junction approaches rupture, we show that EGNs exhibit a surprising conductance enlargement just before breaking, which signals the formation of a picoscale current path formed from a single sp2 bond. Just as Schottky barriers are a common feature of semiconductor interfaces, conductance enlargement is a common property of EGNs and will be unavoidably encountered by all research groups working on the development of this new technology.

Abstract

Provided the electrical properties of electroburnt graphene junctions can be understood and controlled, they have the potential to underpin the development of a wide range of future sub-10-nm electrical devices. We examine both theoretically and experimentally the electrical conductance of electroburnt graphene junctions at the last stages of nanogap formation. We account for the appearance of a counterintuitive increase in electrical conductance just before the gap forms. This is a manifestation of room-temperature quantum interference and arises from a combination of the semimetallic band structure of graphene and a cross-over from electrodes with multiple-path connectivity to single-path connectivity just before breaking. Therefore, our results suggest that conductance enlargement before junction rupture is a signal of the formation of electroburnt junctions, with a picoscale current path formed from a single sp2 bond.

Continue Reading

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by the UK EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), EP/K001507/1, EP/J014753/1, EP/H035818/1, EP/J015067/1, and by the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network Molecular-Scale Electronics (MOLESCO) 606728, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Oxford Martin School, the Royal Society, and the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

Supporting Information

Appendix (PDF)
Supporting Information

References

1
E Burzurí, F Prins, H van der Zant, Characterization of nanometer-spaced few-layer graphene electrodes. Graphene 1, 26–29 (2012).
2
X Deng, Z Zhang, G Tang, Z Fan, C Yang, Spin filtering and large magnetoresistance behaviors in carbon chain-zigzag graphene nanoribbon nanojunctions. Phys Lett A 378, 1540–1547 (2014).
3
Z Zanolli, G Onida, J-C Charlier, Quantum spin transport in carbon chains. ACS Nano 4, 5174–5180 (2010).
4
B Akdim, R Pachter, Switching behavior of carbon chains bridging graphene nanoribbons: Effects of uniaxial strain. ACS Nano 5, 1769–1774 (2011).
5
L Shen, et al., Electron transport properties of atomic carbon nanowires between graphene electrodes. J Am Chem Soc 132, 11481–11486 (2010).
6
VL Katkov, VA Osipov, Planar graphene tunnel field-effect transistor. Appl Phys Lett 104, 053102 (2014).
7
C Joachim, MA Ratner, Molecular electronics: Some views on transport junctions and beyond. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 102, 8801–8808 (2005).
8
Y He, et al., Graphene and graphene oxide nanogap electrodes fabricated by atomic force microscopy nanolithography. Appl Phys Lett 97, 133301–133303 (2010).
9
B Standley, et al., Graphene-based atomic-scale switches. Nano Lett 8, 3345–3349 (2008).
10
HM Wang, et al., Fabrication of graphene nanogap with crystallographically matching edges and its electron emission properties. Appl Phys Lett 96, 023106–023108 (2010).
11
F Prins, et al., Room-temperature gating of molecular junctions using few-layer graphene nanogap electrodes. Nano Lett 11, 4607–4611 (2011).
12
F Börrnert, et al., Lattice expansion in seamless bilayer graphene constrictions at high bias. Nano Lett 12, 4455–4459 (2012).
13
A Barreiro, HSJ van der Zant, LMK Vandersypen, Quantum dots at room temperature carved out from few-layer graphene. Nano Lett 12, 6096–6100 (2012).
14
C Nef, et al., High-yield fabrication of nm-size gaps in monolayer CVD graphene. Nanoscale 6, 7249–7254 (2014).
15
; ITRS, International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors. Available at www.itrs.net. Accessed February 5, 2015. (2013).
16
M Ratner, A brief history of molecular electronics. Nat Nanotechnol 8, 378–381 (2013).
17
O Cretu, et al., Electrical transport measured in atomic carbon chains. Nano Lett 13, 3487–3493 (2013).
18
SV Aradhya, L Venkataraman, Single-molecule junctions beyond electronic transport. Nat Nanotechnol 8, 399–410 (2013).
19
A Barreiro, F Börrnert, MH Rümmeli, B Büchner, LMK Vandersypen, Graphene at high bias: Cracking, layer by layer sublimation, and fusing. Nano Lett 12, 1873–1878 (2012).
20
Y Lu, CA Merchant, M Drndić, ATC Johnson, In situ electronic characterization of graphene nanoconstrictions fabricated in a transmission electron microscope. Nano Lett 11, 5184–5188 (2011).
21
Y Wu, et al., Quantum behavior of graphene transistors near the scaling limit. Nano Lett 12, 1417–1423 (2012).
22
KP Zetie, SF Adams, RM Tocknell, How does a Mach-Zehnder interferometer work? Phys Educ 35, 46–48 (2000).
23
J Rincón, K Hallberg, AA Aligia, S Ramasesha, Quantum interference in coherent molecular conductance. Phys Rev Lett 103, 266807 (2009).
24
M Magoga, C Joachim, Conductance of molecular wires connected or bonded in parallel. Phys Rev B 59, 16011–16021 (1999).
25
JM Soler, et al., The SIESTA method for ab initio order- N materials simulation. J Phys Condens Matter 14, 2745–2779 (2002).
26
JP Perdew, K Burke, M Ernzerhof, Generalized gradient approximation made simple. Phys Rev Lett 77, 3865–3868 (1996).
27
J Ferrer, et al., GOLLUM: A next-generation simulation tool for electron, thermal and spin transport. New J Phys 16, 093029 (2014).
28
S Plimpton, Fast parallel algorithms for short-range molecular dynamics. J Comput Phys 117, 1–19 (1995).
29
CS Lau, JA Mol, JH Warner, GAD Briggs, Nanoscale control of graphene electrodes. Phys Chem Chem Phys 16, 20398–20401 (2014).
30
A Mangin, A Anthore, ML Della Rocca, E Boulat, P Lafarge, Reduced work functions in gold electromigrated nanogaps. Phys Rev B 80, 235432 (2009).

Information & Authors

Information

Published in

Go to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Vol. 112 | No. 9
March 3, 2015
PubMed: 25730863

Classifications

Submission history

Published online: February 17, 2015
Published in issue: March 3, 2015

Keywords

  1. electroburning
  2. graphene
  3. quantum interference
  4. nanoelectronics
  5. picoelectronics

Acknowledgments

This work is supported by the UK EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council), EP/K001507/1, EP/J014753/1, EP/H035818/1, EP/J015067/1, and by the EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network Molecular-Scale Electronics (MOLESCO) 606728, Agency for Science Technology and Research (A*STAR), Oxford Martin School, the Royal Society, and the Templeton World Charity Foundation.

Notes

This article is a PNAS Direct Submission. P.K. is a guest editor invited by the Editorial Board.

Authors

Affiliations

Hatef Sadeghi1 [email protected]
Physics Department, Quantum Technology Centre, Lancaster University, LA1 4YB Lancaster, United Kingdom; and
Jan A. Mol
Department of Materials, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PH, United Kingdom
Chit Siong Lau
Department of Materials, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PH, United Kingdom
G. Andrew D. Briggs
Department of Materials, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PH, United Kingdom
Jamie Warner
Department of Materials, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3PH, United Kingdom
Colin J. Lambert1 [email protected]
Physics Department, Quantum Technology Centre, Lancaster University, LA1 4YB Lancaster, United Kingdom; and

Notes

1
To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: [email protected] or [email protected].
Author contributions: H.S., G.A.D.B., and C.J.L. designed research; H.S. and C.J.L. provided theory and modeling, J.A.M. and C.S.L. fabricated the devices and performed the measurements; H.S., J.A.M., C.S.L., G.A.D.B., J.W., and C.J.L. analyzed and interpreted the data; H.S., J.A.M., G.A.D.B., and C.J.L. wrote the paper with input from all authors.

Competing Interests

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Metrics & Citations

Metrics

Note: The article usage is presented with a three- to four-day delay and will update daily once available. Due to ths delay, usage data will not appear immediately following publication. Citation information is sourced from Crossref Cited-by service.


Citation statements

Altmetrics

Citations

If you have the appropriate software installed, you can download article citation data to the citation manager of your choice. Simply select your manager software from the list below and click Download.

Cited by

    Loading...

    View Options

    View options

    PDF format

    Download this article as a PDF file

    DOWNLOAD PDF

    Get Access

    Login options

    Check if you have access through your login credentials or your institution to get full access on this article.

    Personal login Institutional Login

    Recommend to a librarian

    Recommend PNAS to a Librarian

    Purchase options

    Purchase this article to access the full text.

    Single Article Purchase

    Conductance enlargement in picoscale electroburnt graphene nanojunctions
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
    • Vol. 112
    • No. 9
    • pp. 2623-E1051

    Media

    Figures

    Tables

    Other

    Share

    Share

    Share article link

    Share on social media