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Physics in the News
Title: Berkeley Lab Scientists Win Four DOE Early Career Research Grants
Date: 01/15/2010
Publication: Berkeley Lab News
Extended Text:

Feng Wang

Wang holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and the University of California, Berkeley Physics Department, where he leads the Ultrafast Nano-Optics group. His project is titled, “Control Graphene Electronic Structure for Energy Technology.” Graphene is a one-atom thick sheet of carbon that displays extraordinary electrical and mechanical properties, and is widely touted for its potential use in energy technologies. Wang’s goal is to understand and control this nanomaterial’s novel electrical, vibrational and optical behavior.

“Unlike what is seen in normal metals or semiconductors, electrons in graphene travel like the massless relativistic photons that make up light,” Wang says. “Graphene also exhibits incredible structural flexibility, mechanical strength, and unusual optical properties, but what is most remarkable is the possibility of being able to modify and control these properties through interlayer coupling, nanoscale patterning and electrical gating.”

Wang intends to apply advanced material nanofabrication, electronic characterization, and nanoscale optical spectroscopy to explore such possibilities as the development of a phonon laser for thermal energy research, the control of electron pseudospin for low power graphene nanoelectronics devices, and the use of electrical gating to control graphene as a transparent and variable work function electrode for fuel cells. In addition, he will also explore the use of graphene in solar cell devices to improve thin film solar cell performance.