Transport at Nanoscale Interfaces Laboratory

Controlled quantum dot formation in atomically engineered graphene nanoribbon field-effect transistors

El Abbassi M, Perrin ML, Borin Barin G, Sangtarash S, Overbeck J, Braun O, Lambert CJ, Sun Q, Prechtl T, Narita A, Müllen K, Ruffieux P, Sadeghi H, Fasel R & Calame M

ACS Nano. (2020)


Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) have attracted strong interest from researchers worldwide, as they constitute an emerging class of quantum-designed materials. The major challenges toward their exploitation in electronic applications include reliable contacting, complicated by their small size (<50 nm), and the preservation of their physical properties upon device integration. In this combined experimental and theoretical study, we report on the quantum dot behavior of atomically precise GNRs integrated in a device geometry. The devices consist of a film of aligned five-atom-wide GNRs (5-AGNRs) transferred onto graphene electrodes with a sub 5 nm nanogap. We demonstrate that these narrow-bandgap 5-AGNRs exhibit metal-like behavior at room temperature and single-electron transistor behavior for temperatures below 150 K. By performing spectroscopy of the molecular levels at 13 K, we obtain addition energies in the range of 200-300 meV. DFT calculations predict comparable addition energies and reveal the presence of two electronic states within the bandgap of infinite ribbons when the finite length of the 5-AGNR is accounted for. By demonstrating the preservation of the 5-AGNRs' molecular levels upon device integration, as demonstrated by transport spectroscopy, our study provides a critical step forward in the realization of more exotic GNR-based nanoelectronic devices.