Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2022, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (1): 2012047.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB202012047

Special Issue: Graphene: Functions and Applications

• REVIEW • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Synthesis of Superclean Graphene

Xiaoting Liu1,2,3, Jincan Zhang1,2,3, Heng Chen1,3, Zhongfan Liu1,3,*()   

  1. 1 Center for Nanochemistry, Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, College of Chemistry and Molecular Engineering, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    2 Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
    3 Beijing Graphene Institute (BGI), Beijing 100095, China
  • Received:2020-12-17 Accepted:2021-01-05 Published:2021-01-12
  • Contact: Zhongfan Liu
  • About author:Zhongfan Liu, E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the National Key Basic Research Program of China(2016YFA0200103);the National Key Basic Research Program of China(2018YFA0703502);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(51520105003);the National Natural Science Foundation of China(52072042);Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences(BNLMS-CXTD-202001);Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Planning Project(Z18110300480001);Beijing Municipal Science and Technology Planning Project(Z18110300480002)


Graphene has attracted enormous interest in both academic and industrial fields, owing to its unique, extraordinary properties and significant potential applications. Various methods have been developed to synthesize high-quality graphene, among which chemical vapor deposition (CVD) has emerged as the most encouraging for scalable graphene film production with promising quality, controllability, and uniformity. However, a gap still exists between ideal graphene, having remarkable properties, and the currently available CVD-derived graphene films. To close this gap, numerous studies in the past decade have been devoted to decreasing defect density, grain boundaries, and wrinkles, and increasing the controllability of layer thickness and doping of graphene. Significant recent advances in this regard were the discovery of the inevitable contamination of graphene surface during high-temperature CVD growth and the synthesis of superclean graphene, representing a new growth frontier in CVD graphene research. Surface contamination of graphene is a major hurdle in probing its intrinsic properties, and strongly hinders its applications, for instance, in electrical and photonic devices. In this review, we aim to provide comprehensive knowledge on the inevitable contamination of CVD graphene and current synthesis strategies for preparing superclean graphene films, and an outlook for the future mass production of high-quality superclean graphene films. First, we focus on surface contamination formation, e.g. amorphous carbon, during the high-temperature CVD growth process of graphene. After introducing evidence to confirm the origin of surface contamination, the formation mechanism of the amorphous carbon is thoroughly discussed. Meanwhile, the influence of the intrinsic cleanness of graphene on the peeling and transfer quality is also revealed. Second, we summarize the state-of-the-art superclean growth strategies and classify them into direct-growth approaches and post-growth treatment approaches. For the former, modification of the CVD gas-phase reactions, for example, using metal-vapor-assisted methods or cold-wall CVD, is effective in inhibiting the formation of amorphous carbon. For the latter, both chemical and physical cleaning methods are employed to eliminate amorphous carbon without damaging the graphene, e.g. selective etching of as-formed amorphous carbon using CO2, and removal of amorphous carbon from the graphene surface using a lint roller based on interfacial force control. Third, we summarize the outstanding electrical, optical, and thermal properties of superclean graphene. Superclean graphene exhibits high carrier mobility, low contact resistance, high transparency, and high thermal conductivity, further highlighting the significance of superclean graphene growth. Finally, future opportunities and challenges for the industrial production of high-quality superclean graphene are discussed.

Key words: Chemical vapor deposition, Superclean graphene, Origin of surface contamination, Growth strategies, Extraordinary property


  • O647