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Graphene and renewable fuel

In recent years, the researchers have attempted to improve the process by which graphene grows on a surface in order to control the properties of the graphene. Their recent progress is described in an article in the scientific journal Carbon.

"It is relatively easy to grow one layer of graphene on silicon carbide. But it's a greater challenge to grow large-area uniform graphene that consists of several layers on top of each other. We have now shown that it is possible to grow uniform graphene that consists of up to four layers in a controlled manner," says Jianwu Sun, of the Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology at Linköping University.

In a closely related article in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers describe investigations into the electronic properties of multilayer graphene grown on cubic silicon carbide.
One of the difficulties posed by multilayer graphene is that the surface becomes uneven when different numbers of layers grow at different locations. The edge when one layer ends has the form of a tiny, nanoscale, staircase. For the researchers, who want large flat areas, these steps are a problem. It is particularly problematic when steps collect in one location, like a wrongly built staircase in which several steps have been united to form one large step. The researchers have now found a way to remove these united large steps by growing the graphene at a carefully controlled temperature. Furthermore, the researchers have shown that their method makes it possible to control how many layers the graphene will contain. This is the first key step in an ongoing research project whose goal is to make fuel from water and carbon dioxide.