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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Hybrid Two-Dimensional Electronic Systems and Other Applications of sp-2 Bonded Light Elements

  • Author(s): Kessler, Brian Maxwell
  • Advisor(s): Zettl, Alex
  • et al.

The field-effect is a cornerstone of modern technology lying at the heart of transistors in consumer electronics. Experimentally, it allows one to continuously vary the carrier concentration in a material while studying its properties. The recent isolation of graphene, the first truly two-dimensional crystal, allows application of the field effect to a much wider range of physical situations. In the first part of the thesis, we investigate hybrid materials formed by coupling metals to the two-dimensional electron gas (2DEG) in graphene. We couple superconducting materials to the graphene sheet by cluster deposition. This material displays a superconducting phase whose properties are tuned by the carrier density via the field effect. The transition temperature is well-described by Berezinskii-Kosterlitz-Thouless vortex unbinding. The ground state properties show interesting effects due to the distribution of cluster spacings. Observations related to other hybrid electronic systems including ferromagnets and normal metals are presented. The second part of this thesis involves energy applications of light element materials. The mechanisms affecting coating of carbon nanotubes using atomic layer deposition is developed and applied to photovoltaic systems. The gas adsorption properties of activated boron nitride are investigated and the relative influence of surface area and hydrogen binding affinity is elaborated. The third part of this thesis explores electromechanical properties of suspended graphene membranes. We investigate buckling and strain in exfoliated graphene membranes as well as their deformation under an applied gate potential.

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