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Title: Chemical vapour deposition growth of large-area graphene on metals
Author: Murdock, Adrian T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 1024
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Graphene has unrivalled properties and is heralded as a revolutionary material for the 21st century. Chemical vapour deposition (CVD) on metals is a promising method to produce large-area graphene. Controlling the properties of CVD graphene is vital for its integration in a wide-range of future applications. Many factors can influence the CVD growth of graphene and its properties, therefore further investigations will be beneficial to fully understand and control this technique. In this thesis I expand the knowledge about the growth of pure and heteroatom-doped graphene by low pressure chemical vapour deposition (LPCVD) and atmospheric pressure chemical vapour deposition (APCVD) on commercially available Cu and Pt foils. Using a range of characterisation techniques, I investigate the influence of the substrate’s properties and the synthesis conditions on the growth of graphene, in pursuit of improved, controlled or optimised production, which can promote high quality, large-area, single-layer graphene, or other as desired. By characterising the topography, surface roughness, crystallographic orientations, and chemical composition of six Cu foils, I find that their properties vary greatly and this influences the growth of CVD graphene. I elucidate that the commonly used 99.8 % Alfa Aesar Cu foil has a surface coating composed of calcium, chromium, and phosphorus, which detrimentally influences graphene growth. Cleaning Cu foils with CH3COOH is shown to reduce the concentration of surface contaminants, consequently reducing the nucleation density and increasing the growth rate of CVD graphene. I also demonstrate that the shape, orientation, edge-geometry and thickness of CVD graphene domains can be controlled by the Cu crystallographic orientations. Single layer LPCVD graphene domains align with zigzag edges parallel to a single <101> direction on Cu{111} and Cu{101}, while bilayer domains align to two directions on Cu{001}. Hexagonal APCVD domains also preferentially align with edges parallel to the <101> direction(s). This discovery resolves a key challenge of controlling the orientation of individual graphene domains and opens a new avenue for tailored production of large-area CVD graphene with improved properties. By controlling the synthesis conditions of APCVD graphene on Pt foils I optimise production of ~0.5 mm single layer graphene domains with reduced nucleation density and increased growth rate of ~100 μm/min by synthesis at 1150°C, a higher temperature than previously reported. The absence of large, hexagonal, single-crystal domains on pristine Pt foil, and observation of a reaction between quartz and Pt that promotes hexagonal domains, suggests that a silicon or platinum silicide surface layer may be advantageous for improved growth of graphene. Finally, I demonstrate that the dopant concentration of nitrogen-doped graphene is increased at lower synthesis temperatures and higher NH3 concentration, up to 1.3 %, but with an associated decrease in the growth rate. Direct visualisation, elemental confirmation, and electronic characterisation of individual nitrogen atoms is shown for the first time using aberration corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and electron energy loss spectroscopy. Boron-doped graphene is also synthesised. The implications of these findings, and many additional minor contributions, are wide-ranging and of considerable importance for the future understanding of CVD growth of graphene on metals, and more generally for the advancement of scientific knowledge for manufacturing large-area graphene. Collectively, these discoveries represent a significant body of work that can improve the efficiency of production and assist with controlling the properties of large-area CVD graphene.
Supervisor: Grobert, Nicole Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Advanced materials ; Materials engineering ; Surface nanoscience ; Microscopy and microanalysis ; nanomaterials ; two-dimensional materials ; graphene ; chemical vapour deposition ; synthesis ; metals ; doping ; nitrogen