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Direct growth of graphene by chemical vapor deposition on silicon carbide and III-nitrides

Abstract : Graphene is a two-dimensional material belonging to the family of carbon allotropes, consisting of a stable single atomic layer owing to strong in-plane chemical bonds between carbon atoms. It can be identified as a gapless semiconductor with a linear energy dispersion near the Dirac points, which facilitates ballistic carrier transport. In addition, similarly to any semiconductor, it is possible to control its electrical properties under the influence of an external electric field, resulting in the tuning of its carrier density and doping type, i.e. electrons or holes. Graphene can be elaborated by different techniques and approaches. In this present work, we have considered the direct growth on silicon carbide (SiC) by chemical vapor deposition (CVD) with an external carbon source. This approach which has started to be developed in our laboratory since 2010 is very promising since it allows to control the graphene properties by manipulating the growth parameters. Our objective in this manuscript is to give further insights into this growth technique and to study its potential for the growth of graphene. For this purpose, we have discussed in details different aspects of the growth, starting with thermodynamic simulations to understand the chemistry behind our distinct growth approach. We have also investigated the influence of the different growth parameters, such as the growth time, the propane flow rate and other parameters on the growth of graphene and its properties. However, we mainly focused on two major factors: the hydrogen amount in the gas mixture, especially since the growth is carried out under hydrogen and argon, and the substrate’s miscut angle. Our investigations revealed that the graphene structure can be altered depending on the hydrogen percentage in the gas mixture considered for the growth. For low hydrogen percentage, the graphene growth is associated with a (6√3×6√3) interface reconstruction, whereas for high hydrogen percentage, the graphene layer is dominated by in-plane rotational disorder. These observations are related to the hydrogen intercalation at the interface between the graphene layer and the SiC substrate, which can allow or prohibit the formation of the (6√3×6√3) interface reconstruction as we have discussed thoroughly in this manuscript. The presence of two graphene structures was expected to impact the strain within the graphene layer. For this reason, we have discussed in details the origins of the strain in graphene and attempted to correlate the hydrogen intercalation at the interface to the strain amount. Furthermore, the substrate’s miscut angle was also found to have a direct influence on the growth of graphene, mainly affecting the morphology but also the strain within the graphene layer. In light of the different studies and results, we were able to combine the ideal growth parameters to produce state-of-the art graphene, while demonstrating the possibility of tuning its electrical properties with the growth conditions. In a second part of this work, we extended our study to the growth of graphene on III-nitrides semiconductors. We have considered substrates and templates such as bulk aluminum nitride (AlN), AlN/SiC and AlN/sapphire, which opens new opportunities for innovative applications. The growth of graphene was preceded by an annealing study on the different AlN substrates, in an attempt to enhance their surface quality, but also to test their stability at the temperatures necessary for the growth of graphene. Although the AlN film was found to be unable to withstand the high temperature in some cases, an enhancement of the crystalline quality was detected, attributed to the annealing effect.
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Roy Dagher. Direct growth of graphene by chemical vapor deposition on silicon carbide and III-nitrides. Other [cond-mat.other]. Université Côte d'Azur, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017AZUR4068⟩. ⟨tel-01686791⟩

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