Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Zhixian Zhou


The electrical transport measurements on a suspended ultra-low-disorder graphene nanoribbon (GNR) with nearly atomically smooth edges that reveal a high mobility exceeding 3000 cm2 V-1 s-1 and an intrinsic bandgap was reported in this study. The experimentally derived bandgap is in quantitative agreement with the results of our electronic-structure calculations on chiral GNRs with comparable width taking into account the electron-electron interactions, indicating that the origin of the bandgap in non-armchair GNRs is partially due to the magnetic zigzag edges. In addition, electrical transport measurements show that current-annealing effectively removes the impurities on the suspended graphene nanoribbons, uncovering the intrinsic ambipolar transfer characteristic of graphene. Further increasing the annealing current creates a narrow constriction in the ribbon, leading to the formation of a large band-gap and subsequent high on/off ratio (which can exceed 104). This work shows for the first time that ambipolar field effect characteristics and high on/off ratios at room temperature can be achieved in relatively wide graphene nanoribbon (15 nm ~50 nm) by controlled current annealing.

Moreover, a simple one-stage solution-based method was developed to produce graphene nanoribbons by sonicating graphite powder in organic solutions with polymer surfactant. Single-layer and few-layer graphene nanoribbons with a width ranging from sub-10 nm to tens of nm and length ranging from hundreds of nm to 1 ìm were routinely observed. Electrical transport properties of individual graphene nanoribbons were measured in both the back-gate and polymer-electrolyte top-gate configurations. The mobility of the graphene nanoribbons was found to be over an order of magnitude higher when measured in the latter than in the former configuration (without the polymer electrolyte), which can be attributed to the screening of the charged impurities by the counter-ions in the polymer electrolyte. This finding suggests that the charge transport in these solution-produced graphene nanoribbons is largely limited by charged impurity scattering.

We also report electrical characterization of monolayer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) devices using a thin layer of polymer electrolyte consisting of poly (ethylene oxide) (PEO) and lithium perchlorate (LiClO4) as both a contact-barrier reducer and channel mobility booster. We find that bare MoS2 devices (without polymer electrolyte) fabricated on Si/SiO2 have low channel mobility and large contact resistance, both of which severely limit the field-effect mobility of the devices. A thin layer of PEO/ LiClO4 deposited on top of the devices not only substantially reduces the contact resistance but also boost the channel mobility, leading up to three-orders-of-magnitude enhancement of the field-effect mobility of the device. When the polymer electrolyte is used as a gate medium, the MoS2 field-effect transistors exhibit excellent device characteristics such as a near ideal subthreshold swing and an on/off ratio of 106 as a result of the strong gate-channel coupling. In addition, the ambipolar field-effect transistors of atomically thin MoS2 with an ionic liquid gate were realized in this study. A record high On-Off current ratio greater than 106 is achieved for hole transport in a bilayer MoS2 transistor, while that for electron transport exceeds 107. The scaled transconductance of the device reaches 11.8 µS/µm at a drain-source voltage of 1V, which is an order of magnitude large than that observed in MoS2 transistors with a high-ê top-gate dielectric. A near ideal subthreshold swing of 47mV/dec at 230 K is also achieved in the bilayer MoS2 device.

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