Direct synthesis of graphene from adsorbed organic solvent molecules over copper†
The isolation of graphene by Novoselov et al. in 2004 ignited massive interest in this material. For graphene to succeed fully as a future material its controlled fabrication is required. While numerous routes have been and are being developed, chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is by far the most common approach. There is also interest in forming graphene directly from adsorbed molecules on a substrate. Few examples exist and those that do require multiple steps and rarely offer large graphene domains. In this work we demonstrate a remarkably simple route in which organic solvent precursor molecules are heated in a hydrogen rich atmosphere to directly form graphene over clean Cu foils. The single-step synthesis route has been studied systematically. The systematic studies not only highlight the importance of hydrogen radicals for this reaction, but also provide improved understanding of the role of hydrogen in the formation of graphene from hydrocarbon precursors (e.g. graphene fabrication from thermal CVD).