We have investigated the influence of gas phase chemistry on the chemical vapor deposition of graphene in a hot wall reactor. A new extended parameter space for graphene growth was defined through literature review and experimentation at low pressures (≥0.001 mbar). The deposited films were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and dark field optical microscopy, with the latter showing promise as a rapid and nondestructive characterization technique for graphene films. The equilibrium gas compositions have been calculated across this parameter space. Correlations between the graphene films grown and prevalent species in the equilibrium gas phase revealed that deposition conditions associated with a high acetylene equilibrium concentration lead to good quality graphene deposition, and conditions that stabilize large hydrocarbon molecules in the gas phase result in films with multiple defects. The transition between lobed and hexagonal graphene islands was found to be linked to the concentration of the monatomic hydrogen radical, with low concentrations associated with hexagonal islands. © 2013 American Chemical Society.
- dark field microscopy
- equilibrium thermodynamics