Graphene Buffer Layer on SiC as a Release Layer for High-Quality Freestanding Semiconductor Membranes

Kuan Qiao, Yunpeng Liu, Chansoo Kim, Richard J. Molnar, Tom Osadchy, Wenhao Li, Xuechun Sun, Huashan Li, Rachael L. Myers-Ward, Doyoon Lee, Shruti Subramanian, Hyunseok Kim, Kuangye Lu, Joshua A. Robinson, Wei Kong, Jeehwan Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Free-standing crystalline membranes are highly desirable owing to recent developments in heterogeneous integration of dissimilar materials. Van der Waals (vdW) epitaxy enables the release of crystalline membranes from their substrates. However, suppressed nucleation density due to low surface energy has been a challenge for crystallization; reactive materials synthesis environments can induce detrimental damage to vdW surfaces, often leading to failures in membrane release. This work demonstrates a novel platform based on graphitized SiC for fabricating high-quality free-standing membranes. After mechanically removing epitaxial graphene on a graphitized SiC wafer, the quasi-two-dimensional graphene buffer layer (GBL) surface remains intact for epitaxial growth. The reduced vdW gap between the epilayer and substrate enhances epitaxial interaction, promoting remote epitaxy. Significantly improved nucleation and convergent quality of GaN are achieved on the GBL, resulting in the best quality GaN ever grown on two-dimensional materials. The GBL surface exhibits excellent resistance to harsh growth environments, enabling substrate reuse by repeated growth and exfoliation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4013-4020
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 12 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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