The demand for cheaper, better and smaller components with improved or new functions and lower power consumption is constantly increasing, which is putting the conventional material technologies under tremendous pressure. This applies to electrical conductors and circuits, transistors and (gas) sensors.
Low dimensional materials as graphene, a 2D-material, or carbon nanotubes, a 1D-material, are supposed to be THE promising materials in the future. Devices made of these materials can be made extremely compact. Furthermore, carbon is a highly abundant material and the low-dimensional material is fabricated cheaply from carbonic gas by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) growth. Not only their dimension makes graphene and carbon nanotubes outstanding, but also the highly extraordinary electronic properties especially of graphene allow for devices and applications to be developed that could never have been imagined possible before.
The electronic properties are closely related to the atomic structure. To successfully establish these materials in devices, their structure-property relation has to be understood and must be able to be controlled during synthesis. With the electron microscopes provided at CEN, the atomic structure can be characterized and its evolution under growth conditions followed.