Nano Research

Article Title

In situ imaging of layer-by-layer sublimation of suspended graphene


Graphene, sublimation, in situ electron microscopy, vacancy hole, bilayer edge


An individual suspended graphene sheet was connected to a scanning tunneling microscopy probe inside a transmission electron microscope, and Joule heated to high temperatures. At high temperatures and under electron beam irradiation, the few-layer graphene sheets were removed layer-by-layer in the viewing area until a monolayer graphene was formed. The layer-by-layer peeling was initiated at vacancies in individual graphene layers. The vacancies expanded to form nanometer-sized holes, which then grew along the perimeter and propagated to both the top and bottom layers of a bilayer graphene joined by a bilayer edge. The layer-by-layer peeling was induced by atom sublimation caused by Joule heating and facilitated by atom displacement caused by high-energy electron irradiation, and may be harnessed to control the layer thickness of graphene for device applications.

Graphical Abstract


Tsinghua University Press