Structural and electrical properties of epitaxial graphene nanoribbons
Bryan, Sarah Elizabeth
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The objective of this research was to perform a systematic investigation of the unique structural and electrical properties of epitaxial graphene at the nanoscale. As the semiconductor industry faces increasing challenges in the production of integrated circuits, due to process complexity and scaling limitations, new materials research has come to the forefront of both science and engineering disciplines. Graphene, an atomically-thin sheet of carbon, was examined as a material which may replace or become integrated with silicon nanoelectronics. Specifically, this research was focused on epitaxial graphene produced on silicon carbide. This material system, as opposed to other types of graphene, holds great promise for large-scale manufacturing, and is therefore of wide interest to the academic and industrial community. In this work, high-quality epitaxial graphene production was optimized, followed by the process development necessary to fabricate epitaxial graphene nanoribbon transistors for electrical characterization. The structural and electrical transport properties of the nanoribbons were elucidated through a series of distinct experiments. First, the size-dependent conductivity of epitaxial graphene at the nanoscale was investigated. Next, the alleviation of the detrimental effects revealed during the size-dependent conductivity study was achieved through the selective functionalization of graphene with hydrogen. Finally, two techniques were developed to allow for the complementary doping of epitaxial graphene. All of the experiments presented herein reveal new and important aspects of epitaxial graphene at the nanoscale that must be considered if the material is to be adopted for use by the semiconductor industry.