Graphene is a material whit surprising strength and high conductivity posit as the material that will mark a new era in the field of microelectronics and integrated circuit development. This carbon allotropy formed by carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal tessellation species (linked together by a covalent bond) begins to be used in the manufacture of silicon transistors as an adjunct to overcome the instability of this, however, even the candidate to replace silicon are still many details to discover. Within the work of characterization of this material, a team from the University of Manchester has found a rather surprising finding, the material can self-repair itself.
The team from the University of Manchester is working on a research on the interaction of graphene with other metals with the idea of characterizing the material and evaluate its use in the field of electronics. During the investigation, the team found evidence showing that metals caused the formation of holes in the structure of graphene, a significant fact because it showed that the material is weakened and could lead to a loss in the properties of graphene. Surprisingly, while watching these holes and training, noted that the material is spontaneously repaired using nearby atoms and recover the structure.
How could they see something? Scientists at the University of Manchester, led by Professor Sir Konstantin Novosiólov (Nobel Prize in Physics 2010 with Andrey Gueim for his research on graphene), were working at the facilities of the SuperSTEM on the Daresbury laboratory, a research center sponsored by the Universities of Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool and Oxford which houses within it a large scanning electron microscopy and transmission (the SuperSTEM). With this microscope, the team was able to make observations and reach "level of the atom" and observe the structure of graphene, its alterations and self-repairing it.
This property of graphene is very interesting and opens the door for this material can be used in more and more areas, in addition to the field of microelectronics. The scientific director of SuperSTEM, Dr. Quentin RAMASSE was very happy with the work done by colleagues at the University of Manchester:
It was a very interesting and, above all, unexpected. The fact that graphene can regenerate itself under specific conditions can make a difference between working with a real device or perform a proof of concept. Now we know we can carve graphene at the atomic level and generate different shapes. This finding provides the flexibility nanotechnology that will make many future applications.