Growth of high-quality graphene crystals on liquid metal
Published : 11 October 2019
Graphene is one of the most promising 2D materials, finding application in multiple branches of the modern chemical, electronic, and material industry. Thanks to its unique electronic, mechanical, and thermal properties, it is considered as a material of future for new electronic and biodevices, super-strong materials, and energy storage. Despite rapid progress in the field of graphene synthesis, the quality and the size of single graphene sheets is still unsatisfactory, which evidences an urgent need of developing new methods for graphene fabrication, allowing to obtain large-scale and defect-free 2D crystals. The project aims to investigate the graphene formation at surfaces of liquid metals using Raman spectroscopy, Optical microscopy, and auxiliary surface-sensitive methods. The proposed approach is non-standard, as the understanding of catalytic activity and nucleation processes at the interface of liquid metal and gas phase is poorly understood. The liquid surface of a metal can act as a perfect, defect-free catalytic surface for the decomposition of hydrocarbon molecules and a subsequent formation of near-perfect sheets of graphene. The current challenge of the project is the synthesis of high quality, mm-sized graphene crystals, and continuous layer of Gr, free of grain boundaries. The main task of the student will be finding the route towards the successful fabrication of defect-free graphene and identifying the main factors responsible for growth.
The main tasks of the candidate will be to operate the prototype reactor for catalytic reactions at liquid metal surfaces, to characterize the produced graphene sheets using optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and other surface-sensitive techniques like Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).