Steven Brems, Cheng-Han Wu, Chris Van Haesendonck, Ken Verguts, Lisanne Peters, Maksiem Erkens, Stefan De Gendt, Xiangyu Wu, Koen Schouteden, Clement Porret, Cedric Huyghebaert, Nandi Vrancken, Zhe Li
The key steps of a transfer of two-dimensional (2D) materials are the delamination of the as-grown material from a growth substrate and the lamination of the 2D material on a target substrate. In state-of-the-art transfer experiments, these steps remain very challenging, and transfer variations often result in unreliable 2D material properties. Here, it is demonstrated that interfacial water can insert between graphene and its growth substrate despite the hydrophobic behavior of graphene. It is understood that interfacial water is essential for an electrochemistry-based graphene delamination from a Pt surface. Additionally, the lamination of graphene to a target wafer is hindered by intercalation effects, which can even result in graphene delamination from the target wafer. For circumvention of these issues, a direct, support-free graphene transfer process is demonstrated, which relies on the formation of interfacial water between graphene and its growth surface, while avoiding water intercalation between graphene and the target wafer by using hydrophobic silane layers on the target wafer. The proposed direct graphene transfer also avoids polymer contamination (no temporary support layer) and eliminates the need for etching of the catalyst metal. Therefore, recycling of the growth template becomes feasible. The proposed transfer process might even open the door for the suggested atomic-scale interlocking-toy-brick-based stacking of different 2D materials, which will enable a more reliable fabrication of van der Waals heterostructure-based devices and applications.