Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) are narrow stripes of graphene that present extremely varied electronic properties depending on their detailed structure. This variety is on the one hand extremely promising for next-generation nanoelectronic and optoelectronic devices. However, on the other hand it remarks the stringent need for atomic precision in their synthesis. With the advent of bottom-up synthesis, increasingly high hopes are being placed on this approach and the resultant atomically precise GNRs.
In addition to their potential technological use, their synthesis allows checking many of the theoretical predictions regarding the electronic properties of GNRs. By way of example, a notable bandgap dependence on the GNR width is predicted, which groups the ribbons into three classes depending on the number (p) of C atoms from side to side. We have measured such dependence on examples belonging to the 3p and 3p+1 families. Further tunability of the electronic properties may be obtained creating GNRs with different edge orientations, GNR heterostructures, or doping the structures with appropriate heteroatoms. To selectively obtain the different nanoribbons we have made used of different approaches, which include the design of adequate precursors, as well as the templating effect of specific substrates.