2012 IR&D Annual Report

Large-Area Synthesis of Graphene for Electronic Devices, 18-R8303

Principal Investigators
Vasiliki Z. Poenitzsch
Thomas Booker
John Harrison

Inclusive Dates:  04/01/12 – 04/01/13

Background — At present, graphene is one of the hottest topics in condensed-matter physics and materials science. Graphene is a monolayer thick planar sheet of sp2-bonded carbon atoms packed in a two-dimensional (2D) honeycomb lattice. The unique structure of graphene yields extraordinary thermal, mechanical, and electrical properties. In 2004, Novoselov and Geim first isolated graphene by cleaving graphite with adhesive tape. Research on graphene has since been a fast developing field, with exciting properties being confirmed and new concepts and applications appearing at an incredible rate. Potential applications include field effect transistors, interconnects, sensors, conducting films, clean energy devices, and conductive reinforced composites. Due to the promising and versatile properties of graphene, Novoselov and Geim were awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Physics. Despite intense interest and remarkably rapid progress in the field of graphene-related research, there is still a long way to go for the widespread implementation of graphene. It is primarily due to the difficulty of reliably producing high-quality samples, especially in a scalable fashion. This project seeks to help close the chasm between graphene manufacturability and its application. Development of graphene deposition technologies will enable SwRI to provide applied research and development on graphene to a range of clients.

Approach — The primary objective is to establish graphene deposition technologies at SwRI. The immediate aims of this project are:

  1. Establish an in-house graphene thermal chemical vapor deposition (CVD) deposition processing technology.
  2. Develop and characterize a novel graphene plasma-enhanced CVD (PECVD) deposition processing technology.
  3. Fabricate electronic microdevices with SwRI produced graphene films and investigate their electronic application specific performance.
Photographs (a,b) of new thermal CVD chamber running process experiments for producing graphene films and of (c) as-grown film on Cu foil from a graphene deposition process experiment.
Photographs (a,b) of new thermal CVD chamber running process experiments for producing graphene films and of (c) as-grown film on Cu foil from a graphene deposition process experiment.

Accomplishments — During the first half of this project, SwRI has successfully completed the design and fabrication of a new thermal CVD chamber and begun a design of experiments in which parameters are systematically varied in graphene deposition processes. The graphene samples have been characterized using scanning electron micrsocopy (SEM), Raman spectroscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). SwRI has established a transfer method for transferring as-grown graphene films on copper substrates to oxidized silicon wafers substrates. Additionally, SwRI has designed and is currently fabricating a novel PECVD graphene deposition system.

Benefiting government, industry and the public through innovative science and technology
Southwest Research Institute® (SwRI®), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is a multidisciplinary, independent, nonprofit, applied engineering and physical sciences research and development organization with 9 technical divisions.
04/15/14