Preparation and characterization of plasma-fluorinated epitaxial graphene
Sherpa, Sonam Dorje
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The discovery of unique properties of graphene has led to the development of graphene for a variety of applications like integrated circuits, organic electronic devices, supercapacitors, sensors, and composite materials. Fluorination of graphene enables control of its physical, chemical, and electronic properties. Our initial studies demonstrated the viability of sulfur hexafluoride plasmas to fluorinate epitaxial graphene as a safer alternative to the commonly reported techniques of fluorination that include exposures to fluorine and xenon difluoride gas. Formation of carbon-fluorine bonds after SF6 plasma-treatment was confirmed by x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Raman spectroscopy and low-energy electron diffraction studies suggest that the framework of sp2-hybridized carbon atoms remains intact after the plasma-treatment. Increase in work function after the fluorination was determined by ultra-violet photoelectron spectroscopy. The findings of our subsequent investigation to controllably modify the work function of epitaxial graphene via plasma-fluorination indicate that the work function of fluorinated epitaxial graphene is controlled by the polarity of carbon-fluorine bonds. Further studies to investigate the effect of the surface topography of epitaxial graphene on the work function of plasma-fluorinated epitaxial graphene were performed using scanning Kelvin probe microscopy (SKPM). The results of SKPM characterization of plasma-fluorinated epitaxial graphene demonstrated that the increase in the work function of epitaxial graphene after plasma-treatment is independent of its surface topography, but non-uniform fluorination may result from non-uniformities in plasma density.