Scientists from Russia's National Research Nuclear University MEPhI have succeeded in producing graphene with a very high stability to ozonation using high-temperature sublimation of silicon carbide (SiC). The resulting graphene maintains contact with ozone for more than 10 minutes (while ordinary graphene loses its properties after only three or four minutes under such conditions). These results may hold great potential for the development of nanoelectronics.
To further examine the effects, scientists from Greece, France and Sweden were brought onto the team. Using computer modeling, the experts were able to figure out why SiC-graphene was more stable under the impact of aggressive oxygen free radicals. The new graphene's abnormal stability appeared to be associated with the low roughness of epitaxial graphene on SiC-substrate (epitaxy is a natural buildup of one crystalline material upon the surface of another).
"It turned out that the usual ‘rough' graphene is more vulnerable due to the presence of convex areas; these areas show high reactivity to the formation of epoxy groups, which destroy its integrity," explained the team, while also stating that this discovery may become the cornerstone of promising technologies to purify high-quality industrial graphene with stable electronic characteristics.