Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have managed to manipulate ripples in graphene, allowing the development of strain-based graphene electronics.
Lead researcher Chun Ning Lau has reported the first direct observation and controlled creation of one and two-dimensional ripples in graphene sheets – a layer of carbon atoms just one atomic layer thick - by using thermal manipulation.
She commented: "When these sheets are heated up, they actually contract, so the ripples disappear.
"When they are cooled down to room temperature, the ripples re-appear, with ridges at right angle to the edges of the trenches."
The ripples could have deep implications for the development of graphene-based electronics, as graphene's ability to conduct electricity is believed to vary with the local shape of the membrane.
In February, scientists at the University of Illinois published research proving that the edge structure of graphene affects its electronic properties, meaning utilising the material on the nanoscale will require precise control of its geometric structure.