Doping of epitaxial graphene by direct incorporation of nickel adatoms
Direct incorporation of Ni adatoms during graphene growth on Ni(111) is evidenced by scanning tunneling microscopy. The structure and energetics of the observed defects is thoroughly characterized at the atomic level on the basis of density functional theory calculations. Our results show the feasibility of a simple scalable method, which could be potentially used for the realization of macroscopic practical devices, to dope graphene with a transition metal. The method exploits the kinetics of the growth process for the incorporation of Ni adatoms in the graphene network.