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NEWS | Dec. 19, 2013

Dr. Daniel Gunlycke Receives 2013 Peter Mark Memorial Award

By Donna McKinney

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) scientist Dr. Daniel Gunlycke is the recipient on the 2013 Peter Mark Memorial Award, established in 1979 in memory of Dr. Peter Mark who served as Editor of the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology from 1975 to 1979. The Peter Mark Memorial Award is presented by American Vacuum Society (AVS) to a young scientist or engineer for outstanding theoretical or experimental work.

Dr. Gunlycke, a Research Physicist in NRL's Chemistry Division, is recognized for significant contributions to the understanding of the electronic properties of low-dimensional graphene nanostructures. He is the first NRL scientist to receive this prestigious, internationally competitive award, which consists of a cash award, a certificate, and an honorary lectureship at the annual AVS International Symposium & Exhibition.

Dr. Gunlycke received his bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Gothenburg and then his master's degree in nanoscale physics and technology from Chalmers University of Technology. He conducted his thesis at Imperial College, London under the supervision of Prof. Vlatko Vedral. He then went on to complete his doctorate degree in Materials Science at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Andrew Briggs, Prof. John Jefferson, and Emeritus Prof. David Pettifor. Dr. Gunlycke was then awarded an NRC Research Associateship allowing him to work on electronic and transport properties of graphene nanoribbons with Dr. Carter White at NRL. Later, he became a member of the permanent staff and has since been running and participating in many research programs with an emphasis on graphene and other two-dimensional crystals.

Dr. Gunlycke is known for his research on the importance of edge effects on the electronic properties of graphene nanoribbons. Graphene gained attention around 2005, in part because of its potential to replace silicon and other semiconductors in nanoscale electronic devices. Therefore, laboratories worldwide started to cut graphene into narrow ribbons using e-beam lithography, hoping to obtain carbon nanotube-like properties with suitable confinement-induced band gaps. In a couple of seminal papers, Dr. Gunlycke and colleagues showed that the conductance in ribbons narrow enough to generate an acceptable band gap is severely degraded by edge roughness, which causes strong Anderson localization that ultimately turns the nanoribbons into insulators. The findings, since confirmed by many other groups, have changed the direction of the field and led leading experimental groups to search for alternative methods of making nanoribbons with smooth edges, including chemical derivation, bottom-up synthesis, Joule heating, cutting graphene with nanoparticles, and unzipping of carbon nanotubes.

More recently, Dr. Gunlycke has explored the properties of an extended line defect observed and controllably fabricated in graphene. This line defect holds a lot of promise because it is well defined at the atomic level and could therefore be made reproducibly. Furthermore, Daniel has shown that the symmetry of this line defect leads to several properties that could be useful for future applications. He has established that it is semitransparent and behaves as a valley filter, which is a crucial component if we are to develop valley-based electronics. He has also found that two parallel, chemically-decorated line defects exhibit a transport gap that could be exploited in graphene resonant tunneling transistors.

Dr. Gunlycke was also recently recognized by the 2013 NRL Edison Chapter Sigma Xi Young Investigator Award for pioneering contributions to the understanding the electronic properties of graphene nanostructures.

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