Sequential growth and twisted stacking of chemical-vapor-deposited graphene†
Adlayers have been one of the main concerns for controlled synthesis of graphene by the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) method. Here we investigate the CVD growth of graphene adlayers on copper (Cu) using isotope-labeling-based Raman spectroscopy and high-resolution atomic force microscopy (AFM). The results show that, besides conventional simultaneous growth for all the graphene layers, approximately 37% of the adlayers follow a sequential growth which can occur even hours after the nucleation of the first layer. The proportions of AB (Bernal)- and twisted (t)-stacked bilayer graphene (BLG) stacks formed by the two modes are not significantly different. Moreover, in those stacks with both AB- and t-BLG, evidence at the atomic scale demonstrates that they resulted from misoriented domains in their single-crystal-like top layers. We believe that this new understanding of the growth mechanism for graphene adlayers can help pave the way towards the synthesis of large-scale and high-quality graphene with controllable layer numbers.