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Application of Soxhlet Extractor for Ultra-clean Graphene Transfer

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posted on 17.02.2022, 14:06 authored by Olubunmi O. Ayodele, Sajedeh Pourianejad, Anthony Trofe, Aleksandrs Prokofjevs, Tetyana Ignatova
Surface contamination experienced during polymer-assisted transfer is detrimental for optical and electrical properties of 2D materials. This contamination is usually due to incomplete polymer removal and also due to impurities present in organic solvents. Here, we report a simple, economical, and highly efficient approach for obtaining pristine graphene on a suitable substrate (e.g., SiO2/Si) by utilizing Soxhlet extraction apparatus for delicate removal of the polymer with a freshly distilled ultrapure solvent (acetone) in a continuous fashion. Excellent structural and morphological qualities of the material thus produced were confirmed using optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. Compared to the conventional protocol, graphene produced by the current approach has a lower residual polymer content, leading to a root mean square roughness of only 1.26 nm. The amount of strain and doping was found to be similar, but the D-band, which is indicative of the defects, was less pronounced in the samples prepared by Soxhlet-assisted transfer. The new procedure is virtually effortless from the experimental point of view, utilizes much less solvent compared to the conventional washing procedure, and allows for easy scale-up. Extension of this process to other 2D materials would not only provide samples with superior intrinsic properties but also enhance their suitability for advanced technological applications.