Magnetic defects in chemically converted graphene nanoribbons: electron spin resonance investigation
Singamaneni, Srinivasa Rao
van Tol, Johan
Tour, James M.
Electronic spin transport properties of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) are influenced by the presence of adatoms, adsorbates and edge functionalization. To improve the understanding of the factors that influence the spin properties of GNRs, local (element) spin-sensitive techniques such as electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy are important for spintronics applications. Here, we present results of multi-frequency continuous wave (CW), pulse and hyperfine sublevel correlation (HYSCORE) ESR spectroscopy measurements performed on oxidatively unzipped graphene nanoribbons (GNRs), which were subsequently chemically converted (CCGNRs) with hydrazine. ESR spectra at 336 GHz reveal an isotropic ESR signal from the CCGNRs, of which the temperature dependence of its line width indicates the presence of localized unpaired electronic states. Upon functionalization of CCGNRs with 4-nitrobenzene diazonium tetrafluoroborate, the ESR signal is found to be 2 times narrower than that of pristine ribbons. NH3 adsorption/desorption on CCGNRs is shown to narrow the signal, while retaining the signal intensity and g value. The electron spin-spin relaxation process at 10 K is found to be characterized by slow (163 ns) and fast (39 ns) components. HYSCORE ESR data demonstrate the explicit presence of protons and 13C atoms. With the provided identification of intrinsic point magnetic defects such as proton and 13C has been reported, which are roadblocks to spin travel in graphene-based materials, this work could help in advancing the present fundamental understanding on the edge-spin (or magnetic)-based transport properties of CCGNRs.