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Bio-Inspired Method of Graphene Production

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The National University of Singapore (NUS) have found a way to grow and transfer graphene with very few defects. The team have developed a novel method to grow and transfer graphene on silicon and other stiff substrates with very high quality after being inspired by nature – specifically the amazing ability of beetles and tree frogs to keep their feet attached to submerged leaves.

The graphene was  grown on a copper catalyst layer that coated a silicon substrate. Once the growth was achieved, the copper was etched away. The graphene continued to remain in place, held by bubbles that form capillary bridges, which is comparable to the feet of beetles and tree frogs attached to submerged leaves. The capillary bridges aided in keeping the graphene on the silicon surface and preventing its delamination during the etching of the copper catalyst. Gradually, the graphene became attached to the silicon layer.

For enabling the formation of capillary bridges, the team introduced gases into the wafer as a pre-treatment step. This helped alter the properties of the interface and assist the formation of capillary bridges during the penetration of a catalyst-removal liquid. A surfactant is added to smooth folds and creases caused by the transfer process.

By using this method, graphene can be used in photonics and electronics – for devices such as transistors, on-chip biosensors, tunneling barriers, and optoelectronic modulators.

References

http://www.azonano.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=3756

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