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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Oct 11;108(41):16900-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1105113108. Epub 2011 Sep 29.

Large area and structured epitaxial graphene produced by confinement controlled sublimation of silicon carbide.

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  • 1School of Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0430, USA.


After the pioneering investigations into graphene-based electronics at Georgia Tech, great strides have been made developing epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide (EG) as a new electronic material. EG has not only demonstrated its potential for large scale applications, it also has become an important material for fundamental two-dimensional electron gas physics. It was long known that graphene mono and multilayers grow on SiC crystals at high temperatures in ultrahigh vacuum. At these temperatures, silicon sublimes from the surface and the carbon rich surface layer transforms to graphene. However the quality of the graphene produced in ultrahigh vacuum is poor due to the high sublimation rates at relatively low temperatures. The Georgia Tech team developed growth methods involving encapsulating the SiC crystals in graphite enclosures, thereby sequestering the evaporated silicon and bringing growth process closer to equilibrium. In this confinement controlled sublimation (CCS) process, very high-quality graphene is grown on both polar faces of the SiC crystals. Since 2003, over 50 publications used CCS grown graphene, where it is known as the "furnace grown" graphene. Graphene multilayers grown on the carbon-terminated face of SiC, using the CCS method, were shown to consist of decoupled high mobility graphene layers. The CCS method is now applied on structured silicon carbide surfaces to produce high mobility nano-patterned graphene structures thereby demonstrating that EG is a viable contender for next-generation electronics. Here we present for the first time the CCS method that outperforms other epitaxial graphene production methods.

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