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Growth of graphene on liquid copper: an operando surface X-ray diffraction and optical microscopy study

  • Maciej Jankowski (Université Grenoble Alpes, France)
Thursday 2 April 2020
Hotel NH Noordwijk Conference Centre Leeuwenhorst

Maciej Jankowski1, A. Saedi2, F. La Porta3, A. Manikas4, J.M. de Voogd5, G.J.C. van Baarle5, I. Groot2, C. Galiotis4, G. Renaud1 and O. Konovalov3

1 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CEA, IRIG/MEM/NRS 38000 Grenoble, France
2 Leiden Institute of Chemistry, Gorlaeus Laboratories, Leiden University, P.O. Box 9502, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
3 ESRF−The European Synchrotron, 71 Avenue des Martyrs, 38000 Grenoble, France
4 FORTH/ICE-HT and Dept. of Chem. Eng., University of Patras, Patras 26504, Greece
5 Leiden Probe Microscopy (LPM), Leiden, The Netherlands

Two-dimensional materials (2DMs) are at the center of attention due to their unique electronic, mechanical, thermal, and optical properties [1]. The CVD growth of 2DMs on liquid metals is an emerging and promising route towards the controlled fabrication 2DMs of high quality, faster and more environmentally friendly than  for the growth on solid substrates [2].  However, getting insight into fundamental processes occurring on liquid metals during growth was up to now challenging, even impossible, due to harsh prevailing conditions inside CVD reactors excluding most experimental methods. The aim of the LMCat (Liquid Metal Catalysis) EU Horizon 2020 FET-OPEN project is to overcome these limitations by delivering instrumentation and methodology, allowing to study in situ and operando the growth of 2DMs on liquid metal surfaces.

In this contribution, we will present the first experimental results of graphene growth on liquid copper in a newly developed CVD reactor [3], dedicated to the study of chemical reactions [4] on LMCats. By combining in situ synchrotron X-ray diffraction and optical microscopy, supported by ex situ Raman spectroscopy, we can resolve in real-time the growth dynamics and atomic structure of graphene during its growth on liquid copper. Contrary to solid surfaces, this later is an atomically smooth, isotropic and mobile medium, which allows to produce graphene crystals of  high-quality and large sizes limited only by the size of the liquid bath surface.

A myriad of intriguing growth scenarios was observed which allowed to fine-tune the fabrication procedures and to identify critical factors affecting the growth of individual flakes, their self-assembly and further association into a single layer with a coherent atomic structure. These findings open new possibilities for the growth of 2D materials with unprecedented control over growth kinetics, hardly achievable by any method up to now.


The EU Horizon 2020 FET-Open program supports the LMCat project under grant agreement 736299.


  1. Zavabeti, A. et al., Science 358, 332–335 (2017).
  2. Geng, D. et al., PNAS 109, 7992–7996 (2012).
  3. Saedi, A. et.al, Rev. Sci. Instr. (2020).
  4. Taccardi, N. et al., Nat. Chem. 9, 862–867 (2017).

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