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Nuevo hallazgo sobre el grafeno permitirá fabricar aparatos con propiedades únicas

Un equipo de investigadores del Reino Unido ha descubierto que las estructuras de las capas atómicas del grafeno son prácticamente perfectas, incluso aunque se acumulen más de diez capas en la construcción de la pila. El hallazgo podría facilitar el desarrollo de una nueva generación de chips informáticos. El grafeno, un material bidimensional compuesto por átomos de carbono dispuestos en forma de panal de abejas, es el material más delgado del mundo y también uno de los más fuertes.

Investigadores del Reino Unido han descubierto una característica insólita del grafeno gracias a la demostración de un método que emplea este material como pieza fundamental para la creación de nuevas estructuras tridimensionales no limitadas a lo que la naturaleza es capaz de producir.

Su método, publicado en Nature Materials, implica la inclusión de capas de grafeno entre otras de aislante para generar dispositivos electrónicos con propiedades únicas.

Se espera que este método nuevo dé paso a una dimensión completamente nueva en el campo de la investigación de la física.

Nueva generación de chips informáticos de grafeno

El grafeno es un material bidimensional compuesto de una única capa de átomos de carbono dispuestos en forma hexagonal o de panal de abejas.

Es el material más delgado del mundo y también uno de los más fuertes. Su eficiencia conductora de electricidad se asemeja a la del cobre y supera a la de cualquier otro material en lo referente a la conducción de calor.

Los científicos probaron que una nueva técnica de obtención de imágenes laterales puede utilizarse para observar cada una de las capas atómicas de grafeno en los dispositivos que han logrado construir.

El equipo descubrió que las estructuras eran prácticamente perfectas, incluso aunque se acumulasen más de diez capas en la construcción de la pila.

Este avance muestra aún con mayor certeza la idoneidad del grafeno como un componente de gran importancia para la nueva generación de chips informáticos.

Capas del material sacadas a la luz

El método de obtención de imágenes laterales empleado por los investigadores funciona extrayendo un corte delgado del centro del dispositivo.

El equipo lo compara a la sección de un suelo que permite sacar a la luz las capas geológicas que la componen o a una porción de tarta que desvela cada una de las capas de cobertura.

Los científicos utilizaron un haz de iones para cortar la superficie del grafeno y cavar un surco en cada lado de la sección a aislar. A continuación eliminaron una capa fina del dispositivo.

La Dra. Sarah Haigh, de la Universidad de Manchester y autora principal del estudio, comentó: “Nuestros cortes poseen sólo unos 100 átomos de grosor, lo que nos permite ver cada una de las capas atómicas del grafeno en la proyección. Hemos descubierto que la rugosidad observada en el grafeno guarda relación con su conductividad”.

“Por supuesto, es necesario realizar todas las mediciones eléctricas antes de cortar el dispositivo. También observamos que las capas estaban completamente limpias y que los residuos generados en la producción se segregaron hacia pozos aislados y no afectaron al rendimiento del dispositivo. Nuestro plan pasa por emplear este nuevo método de obtención de imágenes laterales para mejorar el rendimiento de nuestros dispositivos de grafeno”, añade Haigh.

Dos de los investigadores participantes del estudio, Andre Geim y Konstantin Novoselov, ambos de la Universidad de Manchester, fueron galardonados con el Premio Nobel de Física en 2010 por sus “experimentos pioneros sobre el material bidimensional grafeno”.

La importancia de los avances en el estudio del grafeno también ha quedado reflejada en el premio que recientemente ha recibido el físico español Pablo Jarillo-Herrero – el pasado lunes en Washington recogió el galardón presidencial para jóvenes científicos (PECASE) que concede el Gobierno de Estados Unidos- por su investigación en las propiedades electrónicas y ópticas de este material.

Jarillo trabaja en este campo de investigación en el Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts (MIT), en Estados Unidos, centro en el que dirige a un equipo de 20 investigadores.

Vía: http://www.tendencias21.net/Un-hallazgo-sobre-el-grafeno-permitira-fabricar-aparatos-con-propiedades-unicas_a12711.html

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