Quantum mechanical properties of graphene nano-flakes and quantum dots

Hongqing Shi, Amanda S. Barnard*, Ian K. Snook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years considerable attention has been given to methods for modifying and controlling the electronic and quantum mechanical properties of graphene quantum dots. However, as these types of properties are indirect consequences of the wavefunction of the material, a more efficient way of determining properties may be to engineer the wavefunction directly. One way of doing this may be via deliberate structural modifications, such as producing graphene nanostructures with specific sizes and shapes. In this paper we use quantum mechanical simulations to determine whether the wavefunction, quantified via the distribution of the highest occupied molecular orbital, has a direct and reliable relationship to the physical structure, and whether structural modifications can be useful for wavefunction engineering. We find that the wavefunction of small molecular graphene structures can be different from those of larger nanoscale counterparts, and the distribution of the highest occupied molecular orbital is strongly affected by the geometric shape (but only weakly by edge and corner terminations). This indicates that both size and shape may be more useful parameters in determining quantum mechanical and electronic properties, which should then be reasonably robust against variations in the chemical passivation or functionalisation around the circumference.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6761-6767
Number of pages7
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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