Project title: Epitaxial Graphene

Supervisors: Lev Kantorovich, Dimitri Vvedensky and Ian Ford

Project description:

Graphene – a sheet of carbon atoms one layer thick – is a recently discovered material [1,2]. Two physicists from Manchester, A. K. Geim and K. S. Novoselov, were in 2010 awarded a Nobel Prize in physics for finding a way of producing this material.  Graphene has many intriguing properties that already triggered a number of revolutionary technological applications. Electrons travel through graphene as if they have no mass, which results in a minimum of energy loss and in greater efficiency and decreased size in electronic components.  The only problem standing in the way of further applications is the ability of produce large sheets of graphene in significant quantities.  This boils down to understanding in detail at the atomistic level the graphene growth mechanism. The aim of this project is to develop a dynamic model that describes the growth of graphene in real time under realistic experimental conditions, specifically on metal surfaces [3,4], which is one of methods being explored to produce single- or few-sheet systems of this material.

This project is based on developing lattice-free kinetic Monte Carlo (KMC) simulations that describe the essential steps of graphene formation on metal surfaces. First principles density-functional theory (DFT) calculations will be used to determine the most essential elementary processes responsible for graphene growth and correspondingly calculate their rates. This knowledege will be employed to parametrize the KMC simulations, which will enable the spatial proprerties of graphene formation [3,4] to be explored.

  1. A. K. Geim and K. S. Novoselov. The rise of graphene. Nature Materials 6, 183–191 (2007).
  2. A. K. Gein and A. H. MacDonald. Graphene: Exploring carbon flatland.  Physics Today, August 2007, 35–41.
  3. E. Loginova, N.C. Bartelt, P. J. Feibelman,and K. F. McCarty. Evidence for graphene growth by C cluster attachment. New. J. Phys. 10, 093026 (2008).
  4. E. Loginova, N.C. Bartelt, P. J. Feibelman,and K. F. McCarty. Factors influencing graphene growth on metal surfaces. New. J. Phys. 11, 063046 (2009).