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Nat Mater. 2007 Oct;6(10):770-5. Epub 2007 Sep 9.

Substrate-induced bandgap opening in epitaxial graphene.

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Department of Physics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.

Erratum in

  • Nat Mater. 2007 Nov;6(11):916.


Graphene has shown great application potential as the host material for next-generation electronic devices. However, despite its intriguing properties, one of the biggest hurdles for graphene to be useful as an electronic material is the lack of an energy gap in its electronic spectra. This, for example, prevents the use of graphene in making transistors. Although several proposals have been made to open a gap in graphene's electronic spectra, they all require complex engineering of the graphene layer. Here, we show that when graphene is epitaxially grown on SiC substrate, a gap of approximately 0.26 eV is produced. This gap decreases as the sample thickness increases and eventually approaches zero when the number of layers exceeds four. We propose that the origin of this gap is the breaking of sublattice symmetry owing to the graphene-substrate interaction. We believe that our results highlight a promising direction for bandgap engineering of graphene.


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