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Nano Research

Article Title

Precise control of graphene etching by remote hydrogen plasma

Keywords

graphene, hydrogen plasma, anisotropic etching, electronic device

Abstract

Graphene with atomically smooth and configuration-specific edges plays the key role in the performance of graphene-based electronic devices. Remote hydrogen plasma etching of graphene has been proven to be an effective way to create smooth edges with a specific zigzag configuration. However, the etching process is still poorly understood. In this study, with the aid of a custom-made plasma-enhanced hydrogen etching (PEHE) system, a detailed graphene etching process by remote hydrogen plasma is presented. Specifically, we find that hydrogen plasma etching of graphene shows strong thickness and temperature dependence. The etching process of single-layer graphene is isotropic. This is opposite to the anisotropic etching effect observed for bilayer and thicker graphene with an obvious dependence on temperature. On the basis of these observations, a geometrical model was built to illustrate the configuration evolution of graphene edges during etching, which reveals the origin of the anisotropic etching effect. By further utilizing this model, armchair graphene edges were also prepared in a controlled manner for the first time. These investigations offer a better understanding of the etching process for graphene, which should facilitate the fabrication of graphene-based electronic devices with controlled edges and the exploration of more interesting properties of graphene.

Graphical Abstract

Publisher

Tsinghua University Press

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