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Despite theoretical predictions, the question of room-temperature magnetic order in graphene must be conclusively resolved before graphene can fully achieve its potential as a spintronic medium. Through scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and point I-V measurements, the current study reveals that unlike pristine samples, graphene nanostructures, when functionalized with aryl radicals, can sustain magnetic order. STM images show 1-D and 2-D periodic super-lattices originating from the functionalization of a single sub-lattice of the bipartite graphene structure. Field-dependent super-lattices in 3-nm wide “zigzag” nanoribbons indicate local moments with parallel and anti-parallel ordering along and across the edges, respectively. Anti-parallel ordering is observed in 2-D segments with sizes of over 20 nm. The field dependence of STM images and point I-V curves indicates a spin polarized local density of states (LDOS), an out-of-plane anisotropy field of less than 10 Oe, and an exchange coupling field of 100 Oe at room temperature.


Originally published in Scientific Reports.

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