Back to overview

Single atom graphene nanogap

Chemists at Leiden University have developed a  method yielding a device separating two single carbon atoms from two individual conducting graphene layers.

The invention enables the fabrication of a graphene nanogap using a simple methodology. It has been impossible till now to fabricate a graphene nanogap.

The next stage of improvement includes (i) to define the (bio)chemical sensitivity of the device, (ii) chemical edge passivation and determination of the utility of the device as a spectroscope for graphene (and other 2D crystal edge characterization), (iii) to attempt the translocation and detection of individual (bio)(macro)molecules, and (iv) to design the micro/nanofluidic platform (for ‘controllably’ delivery of a single biomolecule to the point contact; for sequencing or characterization of molecules).

Key benefits

  • Single atomic contact
  • Basal plane protected (no need for extra sandwich insulating layers and hence no parasitic tunneling signal)  
  • No need for electron microscopy or lithographic equipment
  • Mechanically robust, scalable formation


  • New tunneling spectroscopes to characterise atomic contacts between two carbon atoms  
  • Study nanoconfined media such as gas, liquids, solid  
  • Detection of molecules in motion  
  • Sequencing molecules  
  • Characterization of polymers
  • Study electrical transport through single (organic, bio-organic) molecules

Development stage

  • 3D Proof of concept (prototype)
  • Fabrication process of the gap is validated

Luris reference number


Patent status

A prior art scan has been performed

Data available on request

Non-confidential and confidential presentations

Further information

Giuseppe Visimberga Knowledge Broker (LU) +31-71-527 6217 +31-6-3875 8956