Awardee Interviews | Biography: Daniel Gunlycke

Daniel Gunlycke

Dr. Daniel Gunlycke, Naval Research Laboratory, “for significant contributions to the understanding of the electronic properties of low-dimensional graphene nanostructures”

Daniel Gunlycke is a Research Physicist in the Chemistry Division at the Naval Research Laboratory. Daniel received his B.Sc. degree from the University of Gothenburg and his M.Sc. degree from Chalmers University of Technology, both Physics degrees. He conducted his thesis research at Imperial College, London under the supervision of Prof. Vlatko Vedral exploring quantum entanglement in Ising chains. He then went on to complete a D.Phil. in Materials Science at the University of Oxford under the supervision of Prof. Andrew Briggs and Emeritus Prof. David Pettifor. His dissertation work describes how quantum information could be processed in carbon nanotubes. Daniel was then awarded an NRC Research Associateship allowing him to work on electronic and transport properties of graphene nanoribbons with Dr. Carter White at the Naval Research Laboratory. Later, Daniel became a member of the permanent staff and has since been running and participating in many research programs with an emphasis on graphene and other two-dimensional crystals.

Dr. Gunlycke is arguably most known for his recognition of the importance of edge effects on the electronic properties of graphene nanoribbons. Graphene gained a lot of attention around 2005, in part because of its potential to replace silicon and other semiconductors in nanoscale electronic devices. Hence, laboratories worldwide started to cut graphene into narrow ribbons using e-beam lithography, hoping to obtain carbon nanotube-like properties with suitable confinement-induced band gaps. In a couple of seminal papers, Daniel and colleagues showed that the conductance in ribbons narrow enough to generate an acceptable band gap is severely degraded by edge roughness, which causes strong Anderson localization that ultimately turns the nanoribbons into insulators. The findings, since confirmed by many other groups, have changed the direction of the field and led leading experimental groups to search for alternative methods of making nanoribbons with smooth edges, including chemical derivation, bottom-up synthesis, Joule heating, cutting graphene with nanoparticles, and unzipping of carbon nanotubes.

More recently, Dr. Gunlycke has explored the properties of an extended line defect observed and controllably fabricated in graphene. This line defect holds a lot of promise because it is well defined at the atomic level and could therefore be made reproducibly. Furthermore, Daniel has shown that the symmetry of this line defect leads to several properties that could be useful for future applications. He has established that it is semitransparent, can exhibit ferromagnetically aligned local magnetic moments, and behaves as a valley filter, which is a crucial component if we are to develop valley-based electronics. He has also found that two parallel, decorated line defects exhibit a transport gap that could be exploited in graphene resonant tunneling transistors.