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Subject of the Master's internship

Growth of high-quality graphene crystals on liquid metal

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Published on 30 September 2019
You will participate in a multi-disciplinary team of researchers working in the frame of the European Horizon2020 LMCat project focused on the growth of 2D materials on liquid metal catalysts. The research will be carried out at in collaboration with ESRF ID10 beamline, equipped with a catalytic reactor, Raman spectroscopy, and optical microscope allowing in situ characterization of graphene growth on liquid metal catalysts. See and

Full description of the subject
Graphene is one of the most promising 2D materials, finding application in multiple branches of the modern chemical, electronic, and material industry. Thanks to its unique electronic, mechanical, and thermal properties, it is considered as a material of future for new electronic and biodevices, super-strong materials, and energy storage. Despite rapid progress in the field of graphene synthesis, the quality and the size of single graphene sheets is still unsatisfactory, which evidences an urgent need of developing new methods for graphene fabrication, allowing to obtain large-scale and defect-free 2D crystals. The project aims to investigate the graphene formation at surfaces of liquid metals using Raman spectroscopy, Optical microscopy, and auxiliary surface-sensitive methods. The proposed approach is non-standard, as the understanding of catalytic activity and nucleation processes at the interface of liquid metal and gas phase is poorly understood. The liquid surface of a metal can act as a perfect, defect-free catalytic surface for the decomposition of hydrocarbon molecules and a subsequent formation of near-perfect sheets of graphene. The current challenge of the project is the synthesis of high quality, mm-sized graphene crystals, and continuous layer of Gr, free of grain boundaries. The main task of the student will be finding the route towards the successful fabrication of defect-free graphene and identifying the main factors responsible for growth.
The main tasks of the candidate will be to operate the prototype reactor for catalytic reactions at liquid metal surfaces, to characterize the produced graphene sheets using optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and other surface-sensitive techniques like Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) and Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM).

Figure: Flakes of graphene during their in situ growth, at 1400K, on liquid copper, by Chemical Vapor Deposition using methane, hydrogen and argon. The horizontal size of the image is 2.3 mm! The flakes are perfectly organized thanks to combined anisotropic capillary attractive and electrostatic repulsive forces.

Requested skills
The candidate should possess academic knowledge about surface chemistry and physics, nanotechnology, and modern techniques used for the characterization of material surfaces. A working experience in a scientific laboratory would be a valuable asset. She/He should be strongly motivated person, able to adapt to the multicultural and multinational work environment, possess high organizational skills, work independently, capable to keep deadlines set by his supervisors. As the research will be held at ESRF, the fluent knowledge of English is mandatory.

Graphene, liquid metal; CVD; catalysis, Raman, optical microscopy, ESRF

Maciej Jankowski
Phone: 04 76 88 24 16
Gilles Renaud
Phone: 04 38 78 35 58

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