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Controlled Formation of Sharp Zigzag and Armchair Edges in Graphitic Nanoribbons

Science  27 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5922, pp. 1701-1705
DOI: 10.1126/science.1166862

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Abstract

Graphene nanoribbons can exhibit either quasi-metallic or semiconducting behavior, depending on the atomic structure of their edges. Thus, it is important to control the morphology and crystallinity of these edges for practical purposes. We demonstrated an efficient edge-reconstruction process, at the atomic scale, for graphitic nanoribbons by Joule heating. During Joule heating and electron beam irradiation, carbon atoms are vaporized, and subsequently sharp edges and step-edge arrays are stabilized, mostly with either zigzag- or armchair-edge configurations. Model calculations show that the dominant annealing mechanisms involve point defect annealing and edge reconstruction.

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