The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has collaborated with Chalmers University of Technologyand Linköping University in Sweden to help develop a fast and inexpensive tool for quality control of graphene grown on silicon carbide.
Graphene was originally made using a method called ‘exfoliation’ which involves pulling graphite apart, for example with sticky tape, until you are left with a carbon layer one atom thick. While this produces high quality graphene, the method is not suitable for mass production and commercial applications.
a graphene sample – bilayer patches are clearly visible
on monolayer background (image courtesy of Arseniy
Lartsev, Chalmers University of Technology)
An alternative method is to grow graphene epitaxially (in layers) from a crystal of silicon carbide at high temperature. NPL and collaborators recently used graphene grown this way to develop a superior quantum Hall resistance standard. However, to ramp up the production of graphene to the levels and perfection required by the electronics industry, fast and inexpensive measurement tools for quality control are required.
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