These AFM phase images of the graphene conduction channel after FEBID carbon doping shows a distinct contrast difference between the carbon doped (n-type doping) and un-doped (p-type doping) regions. Credit: Fedorov Laboratory, Georgia Tech.
In the television drama Mission Impossible, instructions for the mission were delivered on an audiotape that destroyed itself immediately after being played. If that series is ever revived, its producers should talk with Georgia Tech Professor Andrei Fedorov about using his “disappearing circuits” to deliver the instructions.
Using carbon atoms deposited on graphene with a focused electron beam process, Fedorov and collaborators have demonstrated a technique for creating dynamic patterns on graphene surfaces. The patterns could be used to make reconfigurable electronic circuits that evolve before ultimately disappearing into a new electronic state of the graphene.
The project began as a way to clean up hydrocarbons contaminating the surface of the graphene. But the researchers soon realized they could create negatively charged dopant patterns with carbon.
The researchers were perplexed to discover that their newly formed patterns disappeared over time. They used electronic measurements and atomic force microscopy to confirm that the carbon patterns had moved on the graphene surface to create a uniform surface coverage.
Reported in the journal Nanoscale, the research was primarily supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and involved collaboration with researchers from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research.
“We will now be able to draw electronic circuits that evolve over time,” said Fedorov, a professor in Georgia Tech’s George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. “You could design a circuit that operates one way now, but after waiting a day for the carbon to diffuse over the graphene surface, you would no longer have an electronic device.”
— John Toon