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Researchers Make Magnetic Graphene

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Graphene is a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. UC Riverside physicists have found a way to induce magnetism in graphene while also preserving graphene’s electronic properties.Image Credit: SHI LAB, UC RIVERSIDE.

Graphene, a one-atom thick sheet of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, has any desirable properties. Magnetism alas is not one of them. Magnetism can be induced in graphene by doping it with magnetic impurities, but this doping tends to disrupt graphene’s electronic properties. Now a team of physicists at the University of California, Riverside has found an ingenious way to induce magnetism in graphene while also preserving graphene’s electronic properties. They have accomplished this by bringing a graphene sheet very close to a magnetic insulator – an electrical insulator with magnetic properties.

“This is the first time that graphene has been made magnetic this way,” said Jing Shi, a professor of physics and astronomy, whose lab led the research. “The magnetic graphene acquires new electronic properties so that new quantum phenomena can arise. These properties can lead to new electronic devices that are more robust and multi-functional.”
The finding has the potential to increase graphene’s use in computers, as in computer chips that use electronic spin to store data.