Epitaxial nucleation of CVD bilayer graphene on copper

Nanoscale. 2016 Dec 8;8(48):20001-20007. doi: 10.1039/c6nr04557j.


Bilayer graphene (BLG) has emerged as a promising candidate for next-generation electronic applications, especially when it exists in the Bernal-stacked form, but its large-scale production remains a challenge. Here we present an experimental and first-principles calculation study of the epitaxial chemical vapor deposition (CVD) nucleation process for Bernal-stacked BLG growth on Cu using ethanol as a precursor. Results show that a carefully adjusted flow rate of ethanol can yield a uniform BLG film with a surface coverage of nearly 90% and a Bernal-stacking ratio of nearly 100% on ordinary flat Cu substrates, and its epitaxial nucleation of the second layer is mainly due to the active CH3 radicals with the presence of a monolayer-graphene-covered Cu surface. We believe that this nucleation mechanism will help clarify the formation of BLG by the epitaxial CVD process, and lead to many new strategies for scalable synthesis of graphene with more controllable structures and numbers of layers.