Substrate considerations for graphene synthesis on thin copper films

Casey A. Howsare, Xiaojun Weng, Vince Bojan, David Snyder, Joshua A. Robinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Chemical vapor deposition on copper substrates is a primary technique for synthesis of high quality graphene films over large areas. While well-developed processes are in place for catalytic growth of graphene on bulk copper substrates, chemical vapor deposition of graphene on thin films could provide a means for simplified device processing through the elimination of the layer transfer process. Recently, it was demonstrated that transfer-free growth and processing is possible on SiO 2. However, the Cu/SiO 2/Si material system must be stable at high temperatures for high quality transfer-free graphene. This study identifies the presence of interdiffusion at the Cu/SiO 2 interface and investigates the influence of metal (Ni, Cr, W) and insulating (Si 3N 4, Al 2O 3, HfO 2) diffusion barrier layers on CuSiO 2 interdiffusion, as well as graphene structural quality. Regardless of barrier choice, we find the presence of Cu diffusion into the silicon substrate as well as the presence of CuSiO domains on the surface of the copper film. As a result, we investigate the choice of a sapphire substrate and present evidence that it is a robust substrate for synthesis and processing of high quality, transfer-free graphene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number135601
Issue number13
StatePublished - Apr 6 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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