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Molecular Design as a Tool for Synthesis and Applications of Graphene Nanoribbons: A Chemist’s Approach to Carbon Nanomaterials


Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) are pseudo-1D carbon nanostructures that display similar, unique electronic properties to 2D graphene. However, lateral confinement of electrons within GNRs generates a sizeable bandgap thus elevating these materials to a privileged position for high-performance electronic device applications. While traditional synthetic approaches toward GNRs (i.e. top-down techniques) lack complete control over edge structure, width, and chemical functionality, recent examples of bottom-up synthetic routes, both in solution and on catalytic metal surfaces, have provided an avenue toward atomically defined, smooth edge GNRs. Nonetheless, there are still many major challenges that need to be addressed in order to apply these materials into the next generation of electronic device applications. Several of those challenges are related to: (1) the deposition, proper alignment, and orientation of solution synthesized GNRs (Chapter 2), (2) the design and synthesis of low band gap GNR structures for uses in traditional field effect transistor applications (Chapter 3), and (3) the rational synthesis of GNR heterostructures (block polymers) in order to access exotic physical phenomena (Chapter 4). Herein, I have developed several methods to address all three of these challenges, providing a major steppingstone toward incorporation of GNRs into next generation electronic devices.

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