IndustryWeek: “Nanotechnology: Beyond the Hype”

IndustryWeek has selected an image related to our very recent work on vacancy clusters in graphane as quantum dots as a front cover for its November 2010 issue.

In a recent article in ACS Nano, we discuss how complementary electronic properties and a tendency to form sharp graphenegraphane interfaces can open tantalizing possibilities for two-dimensional nanoelectronics. First-principles density functional and tight-binding calculations show that graphane can serve as natural host for graphene quantum dots, clusters of vacancies in the hydrogen sublattice. Their size n, shape, and stability are governed by the aromaticity and interfaces, resulting in formation energies ~1/√n eV/atom and preference to hexagonal clusters congruent with lattice hexagons. Clusters exhibit large gaps ~15/√n eV with size dependence typical for confined Dirac fermions.

Rice physicists dig theoretical wells to mine quantum dots

Graphane is the material of choice for physicists on the cutting edge of materials science, and Rice University researchers are right there with the pack – and perhaps a little ahead.

Researchers mentored by Boris Yakobson, a Rice professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of chemistry, have discovered the strategic extraction of hydrogen atoms from a two-dimensional sheet of graphane naturally opens up spaces of pure graphene that look – and act – like quantum dots.