Crystallographically selective nanopatterning of graphene on SiO2
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Graphene has many advantageous properties, but its lack of an electronic band gap makes this two-dimensional material impractical for many nanoelectronic applications, for example, field-effect transistors. This problem can be circumvented by opening up a confinement-induced gap, through the patterning of graphene into ribbons having widths of a few nanometres. The electronic properties of such ribbons depend on both their size and the crystallographic orientation of the ribbon edges. Therefore, etching processes that are able to differentiate between the zigzag and armchair type edge terminations of graphene are highly sought after. In this contribution we show that such an anisotropic, dry etching reaction is possible and we use it to obtain graphene ribbons with zigzag edges. We demonstrate that the starting positions for the carbon removal reaction can be tailored at will with precision.