AUSTIN, Texas When it comes to the growth of graphene an ultrathin, ultrastrong, all-carbon material it is survival of the fittest, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
The team used surface oxygen to grow centimeter-size single graphene crystals on copper. The crystals were about 10,000 times as large as the largest crystals from only four years ago. Very large single crystals have exceptional electrical properties.
"The game we play is that we want nucleation (the growth of tiny 'crystal seeds') to occur, but we also want to harness and control how many of these tiny nuclei there are, and which will grow larger," said Rodney S. Ruoff, professor in the Cockrell School of Engineering. "Oxygen at the right surface concentration means only a few nuclei grow, and winners can grow into very large crystals."
The team led by postdoctoral fellow Yufeng Hao and Ruoff of the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Materials Science and Engineering Program, along with Luigi Colombo, a material scientist with Texas Instruments worked for three years on the graphene growth method. The team's paper, "The Role of Surface Oxygen in the Growth of Large Single-Crystal Graphene on Copper," is featured on the cover of the Nov. 8, 2013, issue of Science.
One of the world's strongest materials, graphene is flexible and has high electrical and thermal conductivity that makes it a promising material for flexible electronics, solar cells, batteries and high-speed transistors. The team's understanding of how graphene growth is influenced by differing amounts of surface oxygen is a major step toward improved high-quality graphene films at industrial scale.
The team's method "is a fundamental breakthrough, which will lead to growth of high-quality and large area graphene film," said Sanjay Banerjee, who heads the Cockrell School's South West Academy of Nanoelectronics (SWAN). "By increasing the singl
|Contact: Sandra Zaragoza|
University of Texas at Austin