A general method for transferring graphene onto soft surfaces


Recent advances in chemical vapour deposition have led to the fabrication of large graphene sheets on metal foils for use in research and development. However, further breakthroughs are required in the way these graphenes are transferred from their growth substrates onto the final substrate. Although various methods have been developed, as yet there is no general way to reliably transfer graphene onto arbitrary surfaces, such as ‘soft’ ones. Here, we report a method that allows the graphene to be transferred with high fidelity at the desired location on almost all surfaces, including fragile polymer thin films and hydrophobic surfaces. The method relies on a sacrificial ‘self-releasing’ polymer layer placed between a conventional polydimethylsiloxane elastomer stamp and the graphene that is to be transferred. This self-releasing layer provides a low work of adhesion on the stamp, which facilitates delamination of the graphene and its placement on the new substrate. To demonstrate the generality and reliability of our method, we fabricate high field-strength polymer capacitors using graphene as the top contact over a polymer dielectric thin film. These capacitors show superior dielectric breakdown characteristics compared with those made with evaporated metal top contacts. Furthermore, we fabricate low-operation-voltage organic field-effect transistors using graphene as the gate electrode placed over a thin polymer gate dielectric layer. We finally demonstrate an artificial graphite intercalation compound by stacking alternate monolayers of graphene and 2,3,5,6-tetrafluoro-7,7,8,8-tetracyanoquinodimethane (F4TCNQ). This compound, which comprises graphene sheets p-doped by partial hole transfer from the F4TCNQ, shows a high and remarkably stable hole conductivity, even when heated in the presence of moisture.

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Figure 1: Schematic of the self-release layer (SRL) methodology in combination with a pick-and-place elastomer stamp.
Figure 2: High-fidelity graphene transfer enabled by the SRL/pick-and-place methodology.
Figure 3: Field-dependent dielectric breakdown characteristics of 45-nm-thick Teflon AF2400 ultrathin-film capacitors (with an area of 0.22 mm2), with transferred graphene or various evaporated metals as top electrodes.
Figure 4: Low-voltage organic FETs with sub-100-nm-thick polymer top dielectric gated by graphene.
Figure 5: Artificial F4TCNQ graphite intercalation compound.


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F.Y.K. acknowledges DSO National Laboratories for a PhD scholarship. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education (grant R-143-000-524-112) and DSO National Laboratories (grant R-143-000-465-592). The authors thank K. P. Loh and Y. Wang for providing the first CVD graphene samples in a preliminary phase of this project.

Author information

J.S. and F.Y.K. performed the experiments and analysed the data. P.K.H.H. analysed the data. L.L.C. conceived and designed the experiments, and analysed the data. J.S., F.Y.K., P.K.H.H. and L.L.C. co-wrote the paper. R.Q.P., W.L.S. and J.M.Z. contributed to methodology development. G.K.L. contributed materials insights. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Correspondence to Lay-Lay Chua.

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Song, J., Kam, F., Png, R. et al. A general method for transferring graphene onto soft surfaces. Nature Nanotech 8, 356–362 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2013.63

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