The fabrication, modification and characterisation of graphene and other 2D materials
Producing graphene and other 2D materials is currently a large research problem. Production methods that yield high-quality material are slow or expensive; the cheap and scalable methods give material that is too poor quality for most applications. I have studied chemical vapour deposition, a cheap, scalable method, to see if the quality can be improved (see publications #1, #9). More recently I am investigating CVD of other 2D materials. Can the process be more carefully controlled to give high-quality monolayers? Can we grow structures that combine different 2D materials directly in simple processes? I am also looking at different fabrication methods like liquid exfoliation, and to see if this material will be suitable for some low-level applications.
While the intrinsic properties of graphene and other 2D materials caused the initial excitement, modifying some of their properties will help tailor this material to certain applications. I have been using transmission electron microscopy to study how molecules arrange themselves on graphene (publications #15), or how adding atoms can cause defects in the graphene structure (publications #13).
Understanding new materials often requires new characterisation techniques. Microscopy can directly image what is happening to graphene. This includes developing techniques that image graphene using its unique properties, likes its low friction as shown by friction force microscopy (publications #2, explanation post). Transmission electron microscopy can see individual molecules attached to the surface (publications #12).
The electronic properties of graphene are one its most exciting features. Techniques like angle-resolved photoemission allow us to look at the electronic structure (what determines its electronic properties) directly (publications #3, #13, #17).