A new method to produce large, monolayer single-crystal-like graphene films more than a foot long relies on harnessing a “survival of the fittest” competition among crystals. The novel technique, developed by a team led by the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, may open new opportunities for growing the high-quality two-dimensional materials necessary for long-awaited practical applications.
Making thin layers of graphene and other 2D materials on a scale required for research purposes is common, but they must be manufactured on a much larger scale to be useful.
Graphene is touted for its potential of unprecedented strength and high electrical conductivity and can be made through well-known approaches: separating flakes of graphite—the silvery soft material found in pencils—into one-atom-thick layers, or growing it atom by atom on a catalyst from a gaseous precursor until ultrathin layers are formed.
The ORNL-led research team used the latter method—known as chemical vapor deposition, or CVD—but with a twist. In a study published in Nature Materials, they explained how localized control of the CVD process allows evolutionary, or self-selecting, growth under optimal conditions, yielding a large, single-crystal-like sheet of graphene.
The full article is available below.