Graphene under strain

Graphene is light, strong and has unusual optoelectronic properties. Now, researchers at the University of Arkansas and elsewhere have worked together to develop a technique for controlling the mechanical strain in freestanding graphene sheets over tiny squares of copper. The team suggests that controlling the strain of freestanding graphene could allow them to fine tune its properties for particular applications. “If you subject graphene to strain, you change its electronic properties,” says Salvador Barraza-Lopez. Inducing strain in the material causes it to behave as if it were in a magnetic field, a phenomenon that might be exploited in electromechanical systems.