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Honda Research Institute claims nanoribbon advancement with quantum implications

By Dan O'Shea posted 14 Dec 2021

Honda Research Institute USA (HRI-US), which has been working in the areas of quantum computing and quantum sensing research in recent years, announced the creation of atomically thin “nanoribbons” – atomic scale thickness, ribbon-shaped materials – that it believes could have future applicability in the field of quantum electronics.

The announcement comes after graphene nanoribbons often have been discussed over the years for having properties of nanoscale electron traps that could allow them to be used in quantum computing processes. Ultimately, HRI-US said its synthesis of the nanoribbons could lead to more energy-efficient quantum devices.

“Our novel growth technology introduces the width as an additional degree of freedom in the atomically thin layered materials revealing and engineering their rich new electronic behaviors,” said Dr. Avetik Harutyunyan, senior chief scientist at HRI-US and the corresponding author of the paper in Science Advances. “The potential applications are extremely broad. We see immediate opportunities for the applications in the high speed, low-energy consumption electronics, spintronics, quantum sensing, quantum and neuromorphic computing.”

HRI-US said in statement that its synthesis “of an ultra-narrow two-dimensional material built of a single or double layer of atoms demonstrated the ability to control the width of these two-dimensional materials to sub-10 nanometer (10-9 meter) that results in quantum transport behavior at much higher temperatures compared to those grown using current methods.” 

The statement further explained, “Common fabrication methods so far mostly rely on techniques such as nanolithography, which print or etch nanometer-scale structures. By contrast, HRI-US scientists developed a method to controllably grow the materials by using nickel nanoparticles as a seed to control the width of two-dimensional materials such as molybdenum disulfide. The result is a much narrower width than those synthesized by conventional methods. The ultra-narrow (about 7-8 nanometers) two-dimensional materials grown by HRI-US researchers demonstrate quantum electron transport, known as Coulomb blockade oscillation, at temperatures of about 60 K (or -213oC), about 15 times higher than those materials synthesized by conventional methods about or less than 4 K (or -269oC), paving the way for more energy-efficient quantum devices.”

“This new synthesis technology represents an important breakthrough in the field of growth of 2D materials,” said Dr. Xufan Li, senior scientist at HRI-US and a lead author of the paper. “We were able to achieve atomic scale control over MoS2 nanoribbon width by using Ni nanoparticles as a seed that enables nanoribbon growth via vapor-liquid-solid (VLS) mechanism. Next we are thinking to control the edge structures of nanoribbons another way to amend their electronic properties.”

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