Large regions of pristine graphene are essential to applications which rely on the ideal graphene properties. Common methods for transferring chemical vapour deposition grown graphene to suitable substrates leaves metal oxide particles and poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) residues on opposing surfaces, which degrade the properties. A common method to reduce the residues include annealing in vacuum or in argon, however, residues remain on the graphene sheet. The present investigation reports on the metal oxide particle ripening and PMMA decomposition on a single graphene sheet during in-situ annealing up to 1300 degrees C in a transmission electron microscope. It is shown that the PMMA residues are increasingly reduced at elevated temperatures although the reduction is strongly correlated to the metal oxide particle coverage on the opposing graphene surface. This is shown to occur as a consequence of an electrostatic interaction between the residues and that this prevents the establishment of large clean areas. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Funding Agencies|Swedish Research Council [621-2012-4359, 622-2008-405, 642-2013-8020]; Olle Engkvist foundation; Knut and Alice Wallenbergs Foundation; European Research Council ; IBS Korea [IBS-RO11-D1]; Swedish Government Strategic Research Area in Materials Science on Functional Materials at Linkoping University [SFO-Mat-LiU 2009-00971]
During recent years, new types of materials have been discovered with unique properties. One family of such materials are two-dimensional materials, which include graphene and MXene. These materials are stronger, more flexible, and have higher conductivity than other materials. As such they are highly interesting for new applications, e.g. specialized in vivo drug delivery systems, hydrogen storage, or as replacements of common materials in e.g. batteries, bulletproof clothing, and sensors. The list of potential applications is long for these new materials.
As these materials are almost entirely made up of surfaces, their properties are strongly influenced by interaction between their surfaces, as well as with molecules or adatoms attached to the surfaces (surface groups). This interaction can change the materials and their properties, and it is therefore imperative to understand the underlying mechanisms. Surface groups on two-dimensional materials can be studied by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), where high energy electrons are transmitted through a sample and the resulting image is recorded. However, the high energy needed to get enough resolution to observe single atoms damages the sample and limits the type of materials which can be analyzed. Lowering the electron energy decreases the damage, but the image resolution at such conditions is severely limited by inherent imperfections (aberrations) in the TEM. During the last years, new TEM models have been developed which employ a low acceleration voltage together with aberration correction, enabling imaging at the atomic scale without damaging the samples. These aberration-corrected TEMs are important tools in understanding the structure and chemistry of two-dimensional materials.
In this thesis the two-dimensional materials graphene and Ti3C2Tx MXene have been investigated by low-voltage, aberration-corrected (scanning) TEM. High temperature annealing of graphene covered by residues from the synthesis is studied, as well as the structure and surface groups on single and double Ti3C2Tx MXene. These results are important contributions to the understanding of this class of materials and how their properties can be controlled.