Energetics of atomic scale structure changes in graphene
The presence of defects in graphene has an essential influence on its physical and chemical properties. The formation, behaviour and healing of defects are determined by energetic characteristics of atomic scale structure changes. In this article, we review recent studies devoted to atomic scale reactions during thermally activated and irradiation-induced processes in graphene. The formation energies of vacancies, adatoms and topological defects are discussed. Defect formation, healing and migration are quantified in terms of activation energies (barriers) for thermally activated processes and by threshold energies for processes occurring under electron irradiation. The energetics of defects in the graphene interior and at the edge is analysed. The effects of applied strain and a close proximity of the edge on the energetics of atomic scale reactions are overviewed. Particular attention is given to problems where further studies are required.