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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering

Front. Chem. Sci. Eng.    2019, Vol. 13 Issue (3) : 427-443
Tailoring electrical conductivity of two dimensional nanomaterials using plasma for edge electronics: A mini review
Aswathy Vasudevan1,2, Vasyl Shvalya1, Aleksander Zidanšek1,2,3, Uroš Cvelbar1,2()
1. Jožef Stefan Institute, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2. Jožef Stefan International Postgraduate School, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
3. Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, University of Maribor, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia
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Since graphene has been discovered, two-dimensional nanomaterials have attracted attention due to their promising tunable electronic properties. The possibility of tailoring electrical conductivity at the atomic level allows creating new prospective 2D structures for energy harvesting and sensing-related applications. In this respect, one of the most successful way to manipulate the physical properties of the aforementioned materials is related to the surface modification techniques employing plasma. Moreover, plasma-gaseous chemical treatment can provide a controlled change in the bandgap, increase sensitivity and significantly improve the structural stability of material to the environment as well. This review deals with recent advances in the modification of 2D carbon nanostructures for novel ‘edge’ electronics using plasma technology and processes.

Keywords graphene      edge electronics      2D nanomaterials      plasma      electrical conductivity     
Corresponding Authors: Uroš Cvelbar   
Online First Date: 16 April 2019    Issue Date: 22 August 2019
 Cite this article:   
Aswathy Vasudevan,Vasyl Shvalya,Aleksander Zidanšek, et al. Tailoring electrical conductivity of two dimensional nanomaterials using plasma for edge electronics: A mini review[J]. Front. Chem. Sci. Eng., 2019, 13(3): 427-443.
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Aswathy Vasudevan
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Aleksander Zidanšek
Uroš Cvelbar
2D material Members Examples Ref.
Conductors 2D metals, carbon-based materials BiTe, BSCCO, FeTe, NbS2,VSe2, graphene [6]
Semiconductors 2D metal chalcogenides, 2D halides, 2D phosphides, 2D arsenide, 2D oxides, elemental Tellurene, black phosphorus, CuS, SnS, MoS2, WS2, SnSe2, BPS, FePS3, FePSe3, As2S3, As2Se3, MnO2, ?PbI2, CdI2 [7]
Insulators h-BN, 2D hydroxides, 2D micas MoO3, Sb2OS2, Ca(OH)2, Mg(OH)2 [7]
Tab.1  An overview of 2D materials according to their electrical conductivity properties
Fig.1  Electronic structure of one layer graphene. (a) Honeycomb lattice structure of graphene consisting of two atoms (A and B); (b) The representation of the graphene band structure; (c) Phonon spectra of graphene. (d) The schematic representation of low energy band structure exhibiting zero energy gap at the Dirac point. ‘Blue’ and ‘green’ Fermi levels reveal p- and n-dopants states (reprinted with permission from the reference [26])
Fig.2  Electron microscope images of different types of two-dimensional nanostructures. (a) Nano-island structure [37]; (b) Nanowalls [38]; (c) Branched nanostructures [39]; (d) Nanoribbons [40]; (e) Nanoplates [41]; (f) Nanodisks [42]; (g) Nanosheets [43]; (h) Nanoflowers [44]. (Reprinted with permission from the references listed above)
Fig.3  Typical geometries of nanoribbons edges. (a) Armchair type arrangement: NA is the number of dimers; (b) Zigzag type alignment: NZ is the number of elements in the chains and W is the characteristic width [48]
Fig.4  Schematic representation of edge scattering mechanisms in graphene NRs. (a) DE-diffusive edge scattering; (b) Atomistic edge-roughness scattering; (c) Structural edge-roughness scattering. The coefficients are defined as follows: P is a probability collision coefficient, sSER is a standard width deviation, LSER is SER correlation length, LAER is AER correlation length, W is the characteristic width [64]
Fig.5  Electric properties of graphene nanoribbons. (a) The low-temperature conductance of NR nanoribbons versus of applied gate voltage; (b) Conductance behaviour inside of the selected region; (c) Electrical current versus of applied bias voltage along two marked lines; (d) Dot-neck structure in disordered graphene nanoribbons. The disordered edge leading to the formation of dots and necks, where Coulomb-blockade takes place when the charge moves from one dot another [71]
Fig.6  The effect of the lattice atoms replacement in graphene. (a) Substitution of boron B (blue ball) in graphene; (b) Band structure of a single B-substituted graphene sheet (reproduced with permission from [93]); (c) Variation of the energy gap Eg under N and B atoms substitution, and N–B pair doping concentrations (reproduced with permission from [94])
Fig.7  ARPES intensity maps showing substrate-induced bandgap opening in graphene on SiC. (a) Photoelectron intensity as a function of energy and momentum, for a line through one of the K points; (b) EDC curves showing the dispersion of energy at the K point; (c) MDC showing the no-dispersive peaks at the gap region (Reprinted with permission from the reference [98])
Carrier gas Change in material Applications
Yielding graphene quantum nanosheets [109]
Incorporation of nitrogen preferably at the edges [110]
Defect generation
Gas sensors
Lithium batteries
O2 Control of thermal boundary conductance [111]
Narrowing the bandgap from 6.0 eV to 4.3 eV (in h-BN) [112]
Sulphur vacancy engineering in MoS2 [113]
Ar/O2 Wettability and surface energy [114]
Ar/H2 Conversion of sp2 to sp3 hybridisation (opening a bandgap of 3.5 eV) [115], defects and disorder generation
C3H9B p-Type conductivity with an on-off ratio of 102 [116], tunable bandgap ranging from 0 to ~0.54 eV Rectifying diodes
Back-gated FETs
Multi-bit memory
Hydrogen production
Photovoltaic devices
p-Type doping for gas sensing (e.g., NH3) [117]
Cl2 p-Type doping increases carrier mobility [118]
H2 p-Type doping in MoS2 [119], reverse fluorination in WS2 [117]
CH4 The transition of insulating to semiconducting [120]
PH3/He Minimised etching and low damage [121]
N2 Substitution of sulphur with nitrogen in MoS2 [122]
Tab.2  Plasma-assisted tailoring of 2D materials for electrical properties and their applications
Fig.8  Schematic representation of graphene NRs edge tailoring with the assistance of plasma for 2D functionalisation electronics. Electrons on the two zigzag edges exhibit opposite directions of rotation (spin)-‘spin-down’ on the bottom edge or ‘spin-up’ on the top edge that generates a current flow
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