Processes for non-destructive transfer of graphene: widening the bottleneck for industrial scale production
The exceptional charge-transport, mechanical, and barrier properties of graphene are well known. High-quality films of single-layer graphene produced over large areas, however, are extremely expensive. The high cost of graphene precludes its use in industries—such as transparent electrodes and flexible packaging—that might take full advantage of its properties. This minireview presents several strategies for the transfer of graphene from the substrates used for growth to substrates used for the final application. Each strategy shares the characteristic of being non-destructive: that is, the growth substrate remains reusable for further synthesis of new graphene. These processes have the potential to lower significantly the costs of manufacturing graphene, to increase production yields, and to minimize environmental impact. This article is divided into sections on (i) the synthesis of high-quality single-layer graphene and (ii) its non-destructive transfer to a host substrate. Section (ii) is further divided according to the substrate from which graphene is transferred: single-crystalline wafers or flexible copper foils. We also comment, wherever possible, on defects produced as a result of the transfer, and potential strategies to mitigate these defects. We conclude that several methods for the green synthesis and transfer of graphene have several of the right characteristics to be useful in industrial scale production.