Blanc Inter II SIMI 10 - Blanc International II - SIMI 10 - Nanosciences

Fabrication and applications of functional graphene devices – FUNGRAPH

Fabrication and applications of functionalized graphene devices

This project aims at synthesizing monoatomic carbon films (graphene), followed by a functionalization step, using nanostructuring or molecular molecules decoration. We want to take advantage of the remarkable electronic properties of graphene for testing if such structures can be used for gas sensing applications.

Towards a gas detector based on modified graphene

Graphene is a very promising material, owing to his remarkable electronic transport, mechanical and thermodynamic properties. A significant industrial bottleneck is the need of large scale production of thin films. The current best method is chemical vapor deposition (CVD). This project is an international collaboration between a Korean laboratory with expertise in CVD synthesis and chemical sensing applications. The french partner provides nanofabrication tools and electrical interconnects expertise. He works in close collaboration with the chemist other french partner, investigating electrical properties of functionalized surfaces with dipolar molecules. We plan to combine the expertise of the three partners to create devices based on modified graphene films, using physical structuration or chemical functionalization routes, in order to improve the anchoring of molecules to graphene. We want the test if a related change of electrical properties results, in particular under exposure of low levels of molecules of interest. Our hope is to obtain chemical detectors of highest sensitivity.

Graphene is an attractive material for electrical detections of adsorbed molecules, owing to its high conductivity and high sensitivity to molecular modifications. The key difficulty is the inert nature of saturate carbon films. We propose two methods to circumvent this problem. The ‘physical’ route involves nanoscale structuration, multiplying therefore the unsaturated side atoms in graphene films- The ‘chemical’ method relies on covering graphene with layers of dipolar molecules, without using strong covalent substitution, with the aim of preserving the conductivity properties of graphene. Finally, a method for robust interconnects fabrications will be needed, in order to realize a large number of detectors.

We aim at realizing graphene films and devices over large surfaces (a key point for application), with a methodology for realizing large ensembles of detectors.
Our plans for improving the graphene sensitivity remain to be validated. We need to test how the conductivity properties can be kept after modifying the graphene films. Finally, sensitivity tests need to be done.

Ultra sensitive chemical detections is key in the fields of safety, pollution control, and fight against terrorism. Carbon nanotubes are very attractive candidates for high sensitivity devices. They however suffer from low current properties and difficulties in scaling up processing. The advantages of graphene remain to be shown, and no immediate solution exists. We nevertheless hope to realize devices of ultimate sensitivity.

Until now, 3 shared publications and 2 communications at international conferences appeared.

We propose to investigate how nanostructured graphene films can interact with molecules. Graphene is a perfect two-dimensional conductor with high mobility and large surface area. Such a high mobility makes them ideal candidates for electronic devices, but due to the zero gap nature of graphene, electronic device applications of pristine graphene are restricted. However, large surface area and extreme sensitivity to changes in electrostatic environment makes them attractive for sensor applications. In this project, we tailor chemical and structural functionality of exfoliated and CVD graphene devices for the purpose of investigating how the electrical and optical properties are modified and become sensitive to exposure to molecular species. The Korean partner has experience in chemical and biosensors using carbon nanotubes. The French partners have experience in fundamental studies of opto-electronic properties of graphene and synthesis of original dipolar molecules. Our project aims at combining these skills to create novel graphene-based molecular sensors. A combination of device fabrications, fundamental studies, and chemical adsorption studies will pave the way to enhanced chemical and biosensor applications of functionalized graphene devices.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 250,000 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2011 - 36 Months

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