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Epitaxial graphene on ruthenium

Abstract

Graphene has been used to explore the fascinating electronic properties of ideal two-dimensional carbon, and shows great promise for quantum device architectures. The primary method for isolating graphene, micromechanical cleavage of graphite, is difficult to scale up for applications. Epitaxial growth is an attractive alternative, but achieving large graphene domains with uniform thickness remains a challenge, and substrate bonding may strongly affect the electronic properties of epitaxial graphene layers. Here, we show that epitaxy on Ru(0001) produces arrays of macroscopic single-crystalline graphene domains in a controlled, layer-by-layer fashion. Whereas the first graphene layer indeed interacts strongly with the metal substrate, the second layer is almost completely detached, shows weak electronic coupling to the metal, and hence retains the inherent electronic structure of graphene. Our findings demonstrate a route towards rational graphene synthesis on transition-metal templates for applications in electronics, sensing or catalysis.

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Figure 1: Morphology of epitaxial graphene on Ru(0001).
Figure 2: In situ microscopy of graphene epitaxy on Ru(0001).
Figure 3: Identification of the layer spacing of one- and two-layer graphene/Ru(0001).
Figure 4: Micro-Raman characterization of two-layer graphene on Ru(0001).
Figure 5: Measurement of interlayer electrical transport.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank T. Valla and J. Camacho for access to a cleaved monolayer graphene sample. Work carried out under the auspices of the US Department of Energy under contract No. DE-AC02-98CH1-886.

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Contributions

P.W.S. and E.A.S. planned the study, carried out all experiments, and analysed the data. J.-I.F. carried out the LEED I(V) simulations. P.W.S. wrote the paper, and all authors commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Peter W. Sutter.

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Sutter, P., Flege, JI. & Sutter, E. Epitaxial graphene on ruthenium. Nature Mater 7, 406–411 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1038/nmat2166

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