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Nano Lett. 2013 Oct 9;13(10):4769-78. doi: 10.1021/nl4023572. Epub 2013 Sep 24.

Observing graphene grow: catalyst-graphene interactions during scalable graphene growth on polycrystalline copper.

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Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge , Cambridge CB3 0FA, United Kingdom.


Complementary in situ X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), X-ray diffractometry, and environmental scanning electron microscopy are used to fingerprint the entire graphene chemical vapor deposition process on technologically important polycrystalline Cu catalysts to address the current lack of understanding of the underlying fundamental growth mechanisms and catalyst interactions. Graphene forms directly on metallic Cu during the high-temperature hydrocarbon exposure, whereby an upshift in the binding energies of the corresponding C1s XPS core level signatures is indicative of coupling between the Cu catalyst and the growing graphene. Minor carbon uptake into Cu can under certain conditions manifest itself as carbon precipitation upon cooling. Postgrowth, ambient air exposure even at room temperature decouples the graphene from Cu by (reversible) oxygen intercalation. The importance of these dynamic interactions is discussed for graphene growth, processing, and device integration.

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