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Layer-by-Layer Growth of Graphene Sheets over Selected Areas for Semiconductor Device Applications

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posted on 05.05.2021, 14:33 by José V. Anguita, Thomas R. Pozegic, Muhammad Ahmad, S. Ravi P. Silva
We report an in situ imaging method and use it to reveal the mechanism for the formation of extended size sheets of graphene (carpets) in few-layer graphene using the solid-state process, taking place via a layer-by-layer growth mechanism, which can result in a stack of separate individual layers of graphene. This mechanism is revealed by an imaging method that allows the use of conventional (unmodified) scanning electron microscopy to image graphene growth in situ and in real time. With this dynamic imaging, we reveal for the first time the dynamics of flake nucleation and growth and show the dynamics of flake coalescence to form extended size polycrystalline graphene carpets, allowing one to deduce a growth model. This growth method produces graphene flakes with Raman spectral characteristics that closely resemble those from exfoliated flakes obtained using the “Scotch-tape” method. The material is highly electronically intrinsic, with I2D/IG ratios as high as 5. The kinetics of electronic interconnectivity between flakes during blanket formation is imaged dynamically using a doping level contrast in an electron microscope in real time. Furthermore, the observations reveal that it is possible to maximize the time between the formation of each individual blanket, up to several minutes, thus facilitating the production of multiple decoupled graphene layers of precise thickness. This allows one to control the number of layers produced even when using catalysts of high activity and high-carbon solubility such as Fe.