UCLA researchers developed a method of placing graphite oxide paper in a solution of pure hydrazine (a chemical compound of nitrogen and hydrogen), which reduces the graphite oxide paper into single-layer graphene.
This is the first reported instance of using hydrazine as the solvent. The graphene produced from the hydrazine solution is also a more efficient electrical conductor. Field-effect devices display output currents three orders of magnitude higher than previously reported using chemically produced graphene.
Kaner and Kang’s co-authors on the research were doctoral students Vincent Tung, from Yang’s lab, and Matthew Allen, from Kaner’s lab.
“We have discovered a route toward solution processing of large-scale graphene sheets,” Tung said. “These breakthroughs represent the future of graphene nanoelectronic research.”
The coverage of the graphene sheets can be controlled by altering the concentration and composition of the hydrazine solution. This hydrazine method also preserves the integrity of the sheets, producing the largest-area graphene sheet yet reported, 20 micrometers by 40 micrometers. A micrometer is one-millionth of a meter, while a nanometer is one billionth of a meter.
“These graphene sheets are by far the largest produced, and the method allows great control over deposition,” Allen said. “Chemically converted graphene can now be studied in depth through a variety of electronic tests and microscopic techniques not previously possible.”
The electronic properties of graphene, such as high charge carrier concentrations and mobilities, make it a promising candidate for next-generation nanoelectronic devices. In particular, electrons and holes can undergo ballistic transport on the sub-micrometre scale in graphene and do not suffer from the scale limitations of current MOSFET technologies. However, it is still difficult to produce single-layer samples of graphene and bulk processing has not yet been achieved, despite strenuous efforts to develop a scalable production method. Here, we report a versatile solution-based process for the large-scale production of single-layer chemically converted graphene over the entire area of a silicon/SiO2 wafer. By dispersing graphite oxide paper in pure hydrazine we were able to remove oxygen functionalities and restore the planar geometry of the single sheets. The chemically converted graphene sheets that were produced have the largest area reported to date (up to 20 40 m), making them far easier to process. Field-effect devices have been fabricated by conventional photolithography, displaying currents that are three orders of magnitude higher than previously reported for chemically produced graphene6. The size of these sheets enables a wide range of characterization techniques, including optical microscopy, scanning electron microscopy and atomic force microscopy, to be performed on the same specimen.