Researchers from the Universities of Bielefeld and Ulm (both in Germany) developed a new way to produce graphene using aromatic molecules. This new process enables the production of large sheets and also small flakes, quantum dots and nanoribbons (GNRs). It could also be used to create multi-layered graphene.
The researchers start with copper single-crystals or low-cost polycrystalline copper foils as substrates. They then deposit aromatic biphenyl thiol molecules in a self-organised single layer. Finally, the irradiate the deposited materials using low-energy electrons and then thermal process it. This turns the bipheyl thiol into graphene.
The new technologies works with various aromatic molecules and different substrates. It is even possible to deposit on 3D surfaces. The researchers also say it is possible to dope the resulting graphene as part of the process. In addition, changing the temperature during the thermal conversion phase changes the structural order and characteristics of the graphene.