(19)
(11)EP 3 367 423 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
29.04.2020 Bulletin 2020/18

(21)Application number: 17382099.4

(22)Date of filing:  28.02.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
H01L 21/02(2006.01)
C30B 29/02(2006.01)
B82Y 40/00(2011.01)
H01L 29/16(2006.01)
B82Y 30/00(2011.01)

(54)

METHOD FOR OBTAINING MULTILAYER GRAPHENE

VERFAHREN ZUR GEWINNUNG VON MEHRSCHICHTIGEM GRAPHEN

PROCÉDÉ D'OBTENTION DE GRAPHÈNE MULTICOUCHE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(43)Date of publication of application:
29.08.2018 Bulletin 2018/35

(73)Proprietor: Graphenea, S.A.
20018 Donostia - San Sebastian (ES)

(72)Inventors:
  • ZURUTUZA ELORZA, Amaia
    20018 San Sebastián - Guipúzcoa (ES)
  • CENTENO PEREZ, Alba
    20018 San Sebastián - Guipúzcoa (ES)
  • PESQUERA RODRIGUES, Amaia
    20018 San Sebastián - Guipúzcoa (ES)

(74)Representative: Balder IP Law, S.L. 
Paseo de la Castellana 93 5ª planta
28046 Madrid
28046 Madrid (ES)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 3 135 631
CN-A- 104 192 833
CN-A- 103 342 472
CN-A- 105 621 401
  
  • LEE SANGCHUL ET AL: "Graphene transfer in vacuum yielding a high quality graphene", CARBON, vol. 93, 21 May 2015 (2015-05-21), pages 286-294, XP029255371, ISSN: 0008-6223, DOI: 10.1016/J.CARBON.2015.05.038
  • DE LA ROSA CÉSAR J LOCKHART ET AL: "Frame assisted HO electrolysis induced Hbubbling transfer of large area graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition on Cu", APPLIED PHYSICS LETTERS, A I P PUBLISHING LLC, US, vol. 102, no. 2, 14 January 2013 (2013-01-14), pages 22101-22101, XP012168803, ISSN: 0003-6951, DOI: 10.1063/1.4775583 [retrieved on 2013-01-15]
  • JING-JING CHEN ET AL: "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, vol. 4, no. 1, 27 May 2014 (2014-05-27), XP055394798, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065
  
Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


Description

TECHNICAL FIELD



[0001] The present invention relates to the field of graphene and, in particular, to methods of obtaining, manipulating, transferring and/or manufacturing multilayer graphene.

STATE OF THE ART



[0002] Since its recent discovery, graphene has attracted much attention due to its properties, such as high electronic mobility, extraordinary thermal conductivity, great strength, flexibility and transparency. These properties make graphene an ideal candidate in many applications, such as in electronics, in energy, in touch screen and display technology and in sensors. Most of these applications will require a large-scale production of graphene. A conventional way of manufacturing graphene is by rearranging the carbon atoms in a Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process. In fact, CVD, in combination with metal catalysts, has become the most preferred choice for large area production of monolayer graphene. However, most of the applications require graphene transferred onto different substrates. For example, European patent application US9023220B2 discloses a method of manufacturing a graphene monolayer on insulating substrates from CVD graphene synthesis.

[0003] Graphene being a one atom thick material (one million times thinner than an A4 piece of paper) makes the handling of this material extremely challenging and difficult. In particular, graphene is expected to have excellent potential application in sensors, such as NEMs (nanoelectromechanical) or MEMs (microelectromechanical), among others. In these applications, graphene needs to be suspended on cavities or on holes. For example, United States patent application US2013/0196463A1 US2013/0018599-A1 discloses a graphene nanodevice comprising a suspended graphene layer. The graphene membrane is said to be formed on a separate substrate and transferred onto a planarized surface. According to this disclosure, a thin graphene film can be grown by CVD on copper foil. Then a thin film of polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) is spun onto the graphene surface. Then the PMMA/graphene/copper stack is soaked in a copper etchant to remove copper. The PMMA/graphene film is then transferred to the target substrate by immersing the target substrate in water and placing the PMMA/graphene film on top. The PMMA can then be removed by using acetone or thermal treatment. The resulting graphene membrane will adhere to the planarized surface via Van der Waals interaction forces.

[0004] Graphene is also expected to have excellent potential application in combination with substrates having at least one water-soluble layer (such as MoO3 or PEDOT). In these applications, in which a graphene film needs to be deposited on such substrates, a wet transfer of graphene, such as the one described in US2013/0196463-A1, is discouraged because the residual water would damage the substrate, dissolving it. In addition, the final step of the transfer process, immersing the target substrate in water, would seriously damage it.

[0005] César J. Lockhart de la Rosa et al. describe in "Frame assisted H2O electrolysis induced H2 bubbling transfer of large area graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition on Cu" (Applied Physics Letters 102, 022101 (2013)) a technique for transferring a layer of graphene grown by CVD on copper, based on mechanical separation of the graphene/copper by H2 bubbles during H2O electrolysis. The process is as follows: First, graphene is grown by CVD on copper followed by deposition of a support PMMA thin film. Then a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) supporting frame is placed on the top of the PMMA/graphene/Cu-sandwich. The PET-frame/PMMA/graphene/Cu-bundle is submerged into an aqueous solution and subjected to electrolysis for separating the Cu foil from the graphene by the H2 bubbling. The PET-frame/PMMA/graphene-bundle is then picked up and rinsed in several deionized water baths. Next it is placed on the SiO2/Si target substrate and left at room temperature until it gets dry. The PET frame is then removed by cutting. The PMMA is then dissolved by acetone. Gluing PMMA to PET frame is a complicated task because there is no adhesive element included in the PET frame.

[0006] CN104192833A discloses a frame to transfer a graphene sheet onto a substrate.

[0007] There are also applications that require the production of several layers of graphene, also referred to as multilayer graphene. Examples of such applications are touch screen, display technology and MEMS. Multilayer graphene may be required in order to increase the electrical conductivity in transparent electrodes or the signal intensity in the graphene membrane. Multilayer graphene may be required to be suspended or deposited on a flat substrate. It may also be required to be suspended or deposited on cavities or on holes. It may also be required to be suspended or deposited on soluble substrates.

[0008] Nowadays, bilayer graphene is obtained by stacking two single layers of graphene as follows, as schematized in figure 1: Starting from a layer of graphene G1 deposited on a metal foil M1, a layer of PMMA PMMA1 is coated onto the graphene G1. The metal M1 underneath the graphene G1 is etched away by using a suitable etchant. The PMMA/graphene stack is then transferred onto the target substrate S1 and the PMMA layer PMMA1 is removed using a solvent. The graphene/substrate stack (G1/S1) can then receive a new PMMA/graphene stack (PMMA2/G2) obtained in a similar way (by etching the metal M2 underneath a graphene layer G2). A PMMA/graphene/graphene/target substrate stack (PMMA2/G2/G1/S1) is thus obtained. This method is called layer by layer method (LBL method). However, the PMMA residues which are left during the removal of the PMMA coating PMMA1 prior to attaching the second graphene layer G2 on the first graphene layer G1 may cause different problems, such as decreasing the contact surface between the two graphene layers, leading to poorer electrical performance (higher electrical resistivity) which is especially detrimental for all the applications. Besides, etchants used for removing the metal M1 M2 underneath the graphene G1 G2 also cause impurities to be trapped between adjacent graphene layers G1 G2.

[0009] Cheng Jin An et. al. describe in "Ultraclean transfer of CVD-grown graphene and its application to flexible organic photovoltaic cells", Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2014, 2, 20474-20480, a graphene transfer method, in which the PMMA/graphene stack is transferred in a reversed manner onto target substrates. According to this method, PMMA is spin coated onto highly uniform graphene prepared by CVD and the metal underneath the graphene is etched away by using FeCl3 etchant, resulting in the PMMA/graphene stack floating above the solution. Subsequent graphene layers are stacked by placing the PMMA/graphene on top of a graphene/Cu followed by etching of the Cu. After cleaning with pure water, the PMMA-coated graphene/graphene stack is transferred in a reversed manner onto the target substrate by placing the target substrate against the side of the PMMA. The resulting layers are stacked in the order graphene-graphene-PMMA-target substrate. However, it has been observed that the roughness and lack of uniformity of the PMMA layer is problematic in the case of substrates with a low roughness (Si/SiO2, certain polymers, etc.) and this may induce too much roughness into the graphene layer, leading to a worsening of its properties (electrical, thermal, etc.). In addition, using this method impurities coming from the Cu etchant and other solvents may become trapped between the two or more graphene layers leading to problems in the final applications, such as shortcuts in organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), increased roughness for the transparent electrodes and interferences in sensor measurements.

[0010] Jing-Jing Chen et al. in "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", Scientific Reports, 4:5065, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065 (27 May 2014) have developed a method for producing two-stacked graphene monolayers without any PMMA between the graphene layers. First, a PMMA thin layer is spin-coated on a monolayer graphene surface grown on copper foil. The copper foil is then dissolved by FeCl3 saturated solution for 30 min. The graphene/PMMA film is washed three times by 60ºC deionized (DI) water. Another monolayer graphene on copper foil is used to fish out the graphene/PMMA film from deionized water. Because of the face-to-face superposition of clean graphene surfaces, there is no PMMA between the graphene layers. The copper foil is then dissolved, after which the two stacked graphene monolayers/PMMA can be transferred onto an arbitrary substrate. However, Cu etchant and other solvent residues remaining between layers, coming from the transfer process, may cause different problems, such as worsening of the graphene properties, which is especially detrimental in applications in which graphene is to be used as the transparent electrode in displays, light emitting diodes/organic light emitting diodes LEDs/OLEDs (creating shortcuts, bad OLED performance) or graphene is to be deposited on soluble substrates or on cavities or holes. Thus, when removing Cu from the PMMA/graphene/graphene/Cu sample prior to its transfer to a substrate, etchants used for removing the metal underneath the graphene cause impurities to be trapped between adjacent graphene layers.

[0011] CN105621401A discloses a method of multi-layer stacking and transferring graphene, in which a graphene layer grown on copper is bonded to a pre-existing stack of graphene layers. The disclosed method has some drawbacks, such as manipulation of the multi-layer graphene stack when it must be suspended on cavities or on water-soluble substrates.

[0012] There is therefore a need to obtain multilayer graphene in which the adjacent layers of graphene are free of impurities coming from the metal, solvent, etc. Especially if graphene is to be used in semiconductor industry applications (sensors, photonics, optoelectronics, etc.), in which several layers of graphene are usually required.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION



[0013] It is therefore an object of the invention to provide a method of obtaining multilayer graphene that overcomes the drawbacks of well-known methods. The new method is useful not only in applications which require that large area multilayer graphene is suspended on flat surfaces, but also in applications which require that large area multilayer graphene is suspended on cavities or on holes or on water-soluble substrates. In this text, the expression "large area graphene" refers to surfaces of up to 30 cm x 30 cm approximately. However, the method is not only limited to such large areas; rather, smaller areas can also be profitably used. We refer to "area" because the thickness of graphene is so small (around 0.345 nm) that a layer of graphene is substantially flat in comparison to its two remaining dimensions. In this text, the term "multilayer" applied to graphene is to be understood as a plurality of layers of graphene, such as but without limitation, 2 layers, 3 layers, 4 layers, 5 layers, 6 layers, 7 layers, 8 layers, 9 layers or 10 layers of graphene.

[0014] The new method allows obtaining uniform multilayer graphene (a plurality of layers of graphene uniformly stacked on one another). This multilayer graphene can then be suspended on cavities, as well as on water-soluble substrates, thanks to a frame that contributes to both obtaining the multilayer graphene and allowing drying and manipulation of the multilayer graphene before transferring it. Thus, multilayer graphene free of water and free of metal impurities is achieved. In addition, the new method allows obtaining much lower polymeric impurities and mechanical defects, such as holes. It also allows encapsulating interlayers such as dopants or other 2D materials in between two layers of graphene without losing the doping efficiency or the additional properties given by the additional layers.

[0015] According to a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of obtaining multilayer graphene. The method comprises the steps of: depositing a first graphene monolayer having a protective layer on top thereof, on a sample comprising a second graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil; attaching to the metal foil a first frame, the first frame comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer; etching the metal foil; depositing the stack formed by the protective layer, the first graphene monolayer, the second graphene monolayer and the first frame on a sample comprising a graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil; removing the first frame; attaching to the metal foil another frame, the another frame comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer; etching the metal foil; repeating the previous stages as many times as layers of graphene need to be stacked to form a stack of multilayer graphene.

[0016] In embodiments of the invention, the method further comprises, once the metal foil has been removed or detached: drying the stack comprising the protective layer and graphene monolayers; depositing the stack onto a substrate; removing the frame or frames attached for the last time.

[0017] In embodiments of the invention, the substrate is a flat substrate or a substrate having cavities or holes or a substrate comprising a water-soluble layer.
In embodiments of the invention, the protective layer is selected from the following group: poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), cellulose nitrate (NC), cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB), poly (lactic acid) (PLA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), poly (phthalaldehyde) (PPA), poly(bisphenol A carbonate) (PC), as well as any combination or derivative of any of the former compounds.

[0018] In embodiments of the invention, the protective layer is made of poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA).

[0019] In embodiments of the invention, the frames have a Young's modulus equal or higher than 10MPa, more preferably higher than 500MPa, still more preferably between 500MPa and 6,000MPa, and even more preferably between 1,500MPa and 4,000MPa.

[0020] In embodiments of the invention, the frames are made of REVALPHA.

[0021] In embodiments of the invention, the removal of the frame or frames is done by cutting through the protective layer through at least one inner border of the frame or frames.

[0022] In embodiments of the invention, after removing the metal foil by an etchant solution, the sample is cleaned with distilled water.

[0023] In embodiments of the invention, the method further comprises removing the protective layer.

[0024] According to a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of obtaining multilayer graphene, comprising: depositing a first graphene monolayer having a protective layer on top thereof, on a sample comprising a second graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil; attaching to the protective layer a first frame and attaching to the metal foil a second frame, the first frame and the second frame comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer; sealing the first and second graphene monolayers by pressing the first and second frames against each other, in such a way that the distance between the graphene monolayers is minimized and the graphene monolayers become totally surrounded by the outer perimeter of the frames; etching the metal foil while the sealing of the first and second graphene monolayers prevents impurities from damaging the first and second graphene monolayers.

[0025] In embodiments of the invention, the method further comprises: depositing the stack formed by the upper frame, the protective layer, the first graphene monolayer, the second graphene monolayer and the lower frame on a sample comprising a graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil; removing the first and second frames; attaching to the protective layer an upper frame and attaching to the metal foil another frame (lower frame), the frames comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer; sealing the graphene monolayers by pressing the frames against each other, in such a way that the distance between the graphene monolayers is minimized and the graphene monolayers become totally surrounded by the outer perimeter of the frames; etching the metal foil while the sealing of the graphene monolayers prevents impurities from damaging the graphene monolayers; repeating the previous stages as many times as layers of graphene need to be stacked to form a stack of multilayer graphene. According to a third aspect of the invention, there is provided a method of obtaining multilayer graphene. The method comprises the steps of: having a sample formed by a first graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil and wherein the first graphene monolayer has a protective layer on top thereof, attaching to said metal foil a first frame comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer; etching the metal foil; depositing the stack formed by the protective layer, the first graphene monolayer and the first frame on a sample comprising a graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil; removing the first frame; attaching to the metal foil another frame, the another frame comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer; etching the metal foil; repeating the previous stages as many times as layers of graphene need to be stacked to form a stack of multilayer graphene.

[0026] Like in previous embodiments, a second frame attached to the protective layer may be attached. The additional advantages of using two frames are thus achieved. According to another aspect of the present invention, suspended multilayer graphene or deposited multilayer graphene is obtained by the method previously described.

[0027] According to another aspect of the present invention, it is provided a device comprising suspended multilayer graphene or deposited multilayer graphene obtained by the method previously described, the device being preferably a NEMs or MEMs or a transparent electrode, for example but without limitation, for displays or for organic or inorganic light-emitting diodes (OLED/LED).

[0028] Additional advantages and features of the invention will become apparent from the detailed description that follows and will be particularly pointed out in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



[0029] To complete the description and in order to provide for a better understanding of the invention, a set of drawings is provided. Said drawings form an integral part of the description and illustrate an embodiment of the invention, which should not be interpreted as restricting the scope of the invention, but just as an example of how the invention can be carried out. The drawings comprise the following figures:

Figure 1 illustrates in schematic form a conventional process of obtaining bilayer graphene.

Figures 2A and 2B illustrate a process of obtaining CVD graphene according to an embodiment of the invention. Figure 2A shows a metal foil, on both sides of which graphene has grown. An adhesive polymer is applied in order to remove one of the graphene layers. Figure 2B shows a graphene monolayer/metal foil, after detaching the adhesive polymer and the bottom graphene layer.

Figure 2C shows a protective layer applied on top of the graphene layer/metal foil stack of figure 2B. Figure 2D shows the protective layer/graphene monolayer of figure 2C after removing the metal foil.

Figure 3 shows another sample formed by a graphene monolayer/metal foil, similar to the one illustrated in figure 2B.

Figure 4 shows a sample formed after stacking the protective layer/graphene monolayer of figure 2D on top of the graphene monolayer/metal foil of figure 3.

Figure 5 shows a top view of an exemplary frame used in the process of obtaining multilayer graphene of the invention.

Figure 6A shows the sample of figure 4, in which two frames are sandwiching the sample. Figure 6B shows the sample plus frames of figure 6A, in which the border of each frame has been squashed against each other in order to seal the graphene layers. Figure 6C shows the sample of figure 4, in which one frame is attached to the sample.

Figure 7 shows the stage of removing the metal foil in a possible embodiment of the invention, by picking up the sample and making it float into an etchant solution.

Figures 8A-8B show cross-sectional views of a sample after removing the metal foil. In figure 8A, the sample is formed by a frame/ protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/frame stack. In figure 8B, the sample is formed by a protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/frame stack.

Figure 9 shows how a new graphene monolayer is added by stacking the protective layer/graphene monolayer/graphene monolayer on top of a graphene monolayer/metal foil.

Figure 10A shows the sample of figure 9, in which two frames are sandwiching the sample. Figure 10B shows the sample of figure 9, in which one frame is attached to the sample.

Figure 11 (a-d) shows the result of a first experiment.

Figure 12(a-b) shows the result of a second experiment.


DESCRIPTION OF A WAY OF CARRYING OUT THE INVENTION



[0030] In this text, the term "comprises" and its derivations (such as "comprising", etc.) should not be understood in an excluding sense, that is, these terms should not be interpreted as excluding the possibility that what is described and defined may include further elements, steps, etc.

[0031] In the context of the present invention, the term "approximately" and terms of its family (such as "approximate", etc.) should be understood as indicating values very near to those which accompany the aforementioned term. That is to say, a deviation within reasonable limits from an exact value should be accepted, because a skilled person in the art will understand that such a deviation from the values indicated is inevitable due to measurement inaccuracies, etc. The same applies to the terms "about" and "around" and "substantially".

[0032] The following description is not to be taken in a limiting sense but is given solely for the purpose of describing the broad principles of the invention. Next embodiments of the invention will be described by way of example, with reference to the above-mentioned drawings showing apparatuses and results according to the invention.

[0033] A method for obtaining multilayer graphene is explained next. The method allows obtaining large area uniform multilayer graphene and transferring said multilayer graphene while preventing impurities from being trapped between adjacent layers of graphene.

[0034] In embodiments of the invention the starting point is bilayer graphene on a metal foil, such as copper (Cu). In other embodiments of the invention, a monolayer graphene on a metal foil may also be the starting point, that is to say, the method of the present disclosure may be used to obtain bilayer graphene.

[0035] In embodiments of the invention, the starting point is a stack formed by protective layer/graphene/graphene/metal foil. A preferred way of obtaining a sample comprising bilayer graphene is described next. Well-known alternative methods of obtaining bilayer graphene could be used instead.

[0036] Currently, the most usual way of obtaining monolayer graphene is by CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition). There are alternative ways of obtaining monolayer graphene, such as the micromechanical exfoliation of graphite or the sublimation of silicon carbide (SiC) substrates. However, they are not industrially scalable methods to obtain large area graphene coverage on arbitrary substrates. The micromechanical exfoliation method typically produces monolayer flakes that range from 500nm up to a few micrometres. In turn, the graphene obtained from the sublimation of Si atoms from SiC, is extremely difficult to detach from the SiC substrate, especially large areas of graphene. CVD has emerged as the method of choice for large area production of monolayer graphene. The use of CVD in combination with copper catalysts has enabled the relatively large-scale production of monolayer graphene. In the method of the present invention, CVD graphene is preferably obtained by any conventional CVD process for obtaining graphene, and in particular, for obtaining a graphene monolayer. The CVD reaction can be undertaken using different types of CVD equipment, such as cold walled and hot walled reactors. During the deposition process, a solid, liquid or gas carbon source is inserted into the reactor chamber. At high temperatures (normally between 600 and 1100ºC) graphene is formed on the catalyst surface (normally copper catalyst). This process can be done either at atmospheric pressure or under vacuum. Plasma can be added during graphene growth if growth at lower temperatures is desired.

[0037] Graphene is usually grown on top of thin metal films on silicon substrates or on metal foils. A skilled person in the art knows that thin metal films are normally thinner than metal foils. The metal can be copper. Semiconductors or insulating materials can alternatively be used to grow graphene. Among the advantages of the copper foils are their low cost, flexibility and easy handling. Graphene can be deposited on metal foils (such as copper foils) of thicknesses varying from around 10µm up to 1000µm. Figure 2A shows a metal foil 11, such as a copper foil. Graphene typically grows on both sides of the foil. For this reason, one of the graphene layers is normally eliminated unless large areas of bilayer graphene are required or at least are harmless. Applying a CVD process, a first monolayer of graphene 21 is grown on the top surface of the foil 11 and a second monolayer of graphene 22 is grown on the bottom surface of the foil 11.

[0038] One of the monolayers of graphene (for example the bottom one 22) is eliminated preferably by applying a thermal release adhesive polymer tape 31 onto that graphene monolayer, as shown in figure 2A. This tape comprises a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer. Substrates usually comprise polymers like polyesters (polyvinyl acetate, polyethylenevinyl acetate, polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene naphthalate, etc.), polyacrylates (polymethyl acrylate, polyethyl acrylate, polypropyl acrylate, polybutyl acrylate, etc.), polymethacrylates (polymethyl methacrylate, polyethyl methacrylate, polypropyl methacrylate, polybutyl methacrylate, polyhydroxyethyl methacrylate), polyolefins (polyethylene, polypropylene), polyimides, polyamides, polycarbonates, polyether ether ketones, polyphenylene sulfide, polyvinyl chloride, or mixtures thereof. The thermal release adhesive polymer layer usually comprises one or more polymers selected from acrylic polymers, vinyl alkyl ether polymers, PEVA, silicone rubber, rubber (butyl rubber, natural rubber), urethane polymers, styrene-diene block copolymers, nitrile polymers, fluorine based polymers and their mixtures. In addition this adhesive polymer layer can also contain additives and/or foaming agents, such as microspheres. According to a particular embodiment, the thermal release adhesive polymer tape is REVALPHA, a commercially available adhesive tape.

[0039] The thickness of the adhesive polymer tape 31 is usually between 0.01 and 1 mm and preferably between 0.01 and 0.25 mm. The adhesive polymer tape 31 can be applied, for example, using a pressure and speed controlled roller, for example such as one speed controlled roller as disclosed in US9023220B2. The rolling means is out of the scope of the present invention. This machine enables the application of the adhesive tape on the graphene layer (for example bottom layer) instead of doing it by hand; applying controlled pressure and speed by rolling means avoids the formation of bubbles between the bottom graphene layer/metal foil and the adhesive polymer tape 31. Preferably, the applied pressure varies between 0.01 to 0.8 MPa; it is preferably applied for a time period varying between 1 to 240 seconds, depending on the dimensions of the graphene layer to be removed.

[0040] The adhesive polymer tape 31 is then detached from the metal foil 11, thus removing the bottom graphene layer 22, as shown in figure 2B. Such detaching process is out of the scope of the present invention. The detaching process is preferably done by applying heat, for example as follows: The sample formed by the top graphene monolayer/metal foil/bottom graphene monolayer/adhesive polymer tape is deposited on a hot plate and exposed to a temperature varying between 1 and 20ºC above the release temperature of the adhesive polymer tape 31. Such applied temperature preferably varies between 1 and 5ºC above the release temperature of the adhesive polymer tape 31. Once the adhesive polymer tape 31 and the unwanted graphene monolayer 22 have been detached, the desired graphene monolayer/metal foil stack 200 (figure 2B) is ready to be transferred onto a substrate, for example by using a conventional wet transfer process.

[0041] The sample 200 is then coated with a sacrificial protective layer 41, as shown in figure 2C, which is applied on the desired (not removed) graphene layer 21. Non-limiting examples of materials to be used as protective layer 4 are: polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), cellulose nitrate (NC), cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB), poly(lactic acid) (PLA), poly(phthalaldehyde) (PPA), poly(bisphenol A carbonate) (PC), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), their derivatives, as well as combinations thereof. The thickness of the protective layer 41 is preferably between 20 nm (nanometers) and 10 µm (micrometers or microns); and more preferably between 100 and 1000 nm. In a particular embodiment, the protective layer 41 comprises polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA). Although in the current embodiment the sacrificial protective layer 41 has been applied after eliminating the bottom layer of graphene 22, in an alternative embodiment the detachment of such graphene layer 22 using an adhesive polymer tape 31 can be done after applying the sacrificial protective layer 41 on the wanted graphene layer 21. The sample including layer 41 is referred to as 201 in figure 2C. The metal foil 11 is then removed. Removing the metal foil 11 is done using a metal etchant (such as Cu etchant). The sample after removing the metal foil is referred to as 202 in figure 2D.

[0042] Figure 3 shows a sample 300 formed by another monolayer graphene 20 on metal foil 10 (i.e. copper foil), similar to the one shown in figure 2B. This sample 300 is obtained in a similar way as the one shown in figure 2B. Sample 202 (figure 2D) is stacked on top of this monolayer graphene on copper foil (sample 300, figure 3), thus obtaining a sample 400 shown in figure 4, wherein metal foil is referred to as 10, the two monolayers of graphene are referred to as 20 21 and the protective layer is referred to as 41.

[0043] In sum, sample 400, comprising bilayer graphene on metal (i.e. Cu), may be obtained by any conventional methods for obtaining a bilayer graphene. In embodiments of the invention, sample 400 has been obtained by applying the already cited method described by Jing-Jing Chen et al. in "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", Scientific Reports, 4:5065, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065 (27 May 2014). In the sample shown in figure 4, there are no PMMA residues in between the graphene layers because the second graphene/metal sample did not comprise a PMMA layer. There are neither etchant residues because the graphene/graphene/metal stack has not been exposed to the first etchant bath because the PMMA/graphene stack floating on water (after being cleaned) has been preferably fished with a graphene/metal stack. However, one of the main drawbacks of the method disclosed by Chen starts when the metal (Cu) is removed from the PMMA/graphene/graphene/Cu stack since etchant and other impurities used during the elimination of the Cu and subsequent cleaning penetrate in between the graphene layers and they are trapped there. Subsequent cleanings of the PMMA/graphene/graphene stack do not solve the issues of the trapped impurities between the layers, leading to a detrimental performance of the bilayer graphene on the final substrate, such as worsening of the electrical and thermal properties. In the sample in figure 4, the thickness of each graphene layer 20 21 is around 0.3 nm (nanometers); the thickness of the metal foil 10 is preferably between 5 and 100 µm and more preferably between 10 and 30 µm; and the thickness of the protective layer 41 is preferably between 20nm and 10 µm (micrometers or microns) and more preferably between 100 nm and 1000 nm (1 µm). Due to the characteristics of graphene, between two graphene layers there is always a distance larger than 3.35 Å. In order for this distance between graphene layer to be as close as possible to this threshold (3.35 Å), a stage of drying the sample 400 is preferably performed. The sample 400 may be dried by conventional means, such as, but without limitation, at temperatures ranging between 100 and 200 ºC (degrees Celsius) and for time duration ranging between 30 m (minutes) and 2 h (hours).

[0044] As already mentioned, detaching (i.e. etching away) the metal 10 underneath the graphene layer 20, in order to keep on stacking additional layers of graphene, severely degrades the stack of graphene layers, since etchants used for removing the metal 10 result in impurities being trapped between adjacent graphene layers.

[0045] In order to solve this problem, at least one frame 52 is applied to the sample 400 of figure 4. The at least one frame 52 is applied at the bottom of the stack, that is to say, beneath metal foil 10. In embodiments of the invention, two frames 51 52 are applied to the sample 400 of figure 4. The at least one frame is an element that provides integrity, permitting for example the handling of the sample 400. For example, the sample including the one or two frames can be handled by means of tweezers or automatic equipment such as robotic arms. Figure 5 shows a top view of an exemplary frame 51 52. When two frames are used, one of the frames 51 is attached on the sacrificial protective layer 41 and the other frame 52 is attached on the metal layer 10, as shown in figure 6A. When only one frame 52 is used, the frame is preferably attached on the metal layer 10, as shown in figure 6C. Each frame 51, 52 comprises a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer. Both the substrate and the thermal release adhesive polymer layer may comprise the same polymers as above disclosed for the adhesive polymer tape 31, and the polymer layer may also comprise additives and/or foaming agents, like microspheres.

[0046] Each frame 51 52 is a flat element to be attached or glued to the metal foil 10 and, when two frames are used, also to the protective layer 41. The thickness of the frame 51 52 is between 0.01 and 1 mm (millimeters), more preferably between 0.01 and 0.1 mm and still more preferably between 0.01 and 0.02 mm. The frame 51 52 forms a flat ring of any shape, as shown in figure 5. The term "ring" refers to its shape having a hollow (through hole) or "closed loop", and does not necessarily refer to a circular or oval shape. The shape of the flat ring forming the frame can be square or rectangular, as shown in figure 5, or a different one. Other shapes are possible, provided that they fit with the shape of the sample and in turn with the shape of the target substrate. The at least one frame is required to handle the sample. It additionally serves at preventing the presence of impurities in the vicinity of the graphene layers 21 20 or between them added for example during the removal of the metal foil. In embodiments in which two frames 51, 52 are used, as shown in figure 6A, apart from serving at handling the sample and at preventing the presence of impurities, the frames also serve at sealing/isolating/encapsulating the graphene layers 21 20 in order to increase the prevention of impurities in the vicinity of the graphene layers 21 20 or between them and to prevent friction between adjacent graphene layers by minimizing the distance between adjacent layers. Figure 6B shows the sample and frames of figure 6A, wherein the external part of the frames (outer perimeter or border) extending from the sample has been squashed by homogeneously pressing one against the other one, in order to homogeneously seal as much as possible the sample sandwiched between the frames 51 52. By pressing the frames against each other, the two (or more) layers of graphene are maintained in their correct position (with respect to each other) and the distance between adjacent layers is minimized, preventing friction between graphene layers. In applications in which for example a dopant needs to be inserted in between consecutive graphene layers, the right position of the graphene layers and the sealing of the assembly is guaranteed by pressing the two frames against each other. The sealing is preferably done by pressing, either manually or using pressing means. The outer dimension of the frames 51 52 (outer border of the ring) is larger than the respective dimension of the sample. As shown in the embodiment of figures 6A-6C, the outer length L and width W of the frame 51 52 are larger than respectively length and width of the sample on which the frame(s) is (are) to be attached. The inner length I and width w of the frame are substantially the same as respectively length and width of the sample. In relation to figures 6A-6B, because the dimensions (length and width) of the frames 51 52 are larger than respective dimensions of the sample, when the two inner parts of the frames are put together and pressed against each other (the inner part of the frames is adhesive), the graphene layers 21 20 are isolated within a seal or capsule formed by the protective layer 41 (above graphene layer 21), the metal foil 10 (under graphene layer 10) and the two frames 51 52 (outer perimeter of graphene layers 21 20), as shown in figure 6B. The sample comprising bilayer graphene as shown in figures 6B-6C is now ready to be submitted to a treatment for removing the metal foil 10, which is exposed to the air or etchant (if metal is removed using a metal etchant) or electrolyte (if metal is removed using electrochemical delamination (bubbling)) through the hollow part defined by frame 52.

[0047] The frame 51, 52 must have a Young's modulus equal or higher than 10MPa and more preferably higher than 500MPa. Still more preferably, the frame 51, 52 has a Young's modulus between 500MPa and 6,000MPa; and even more preferably between 1,500MPa and 4,000MPa. The inventors have observed that adhesive tapes with this feature, provide the frames with surprising advantages over other materials, which may cause the frame to bend, causing the graphene to wrinkle during manipulation and making the drying stage difficult. The selected frame 51 52 is stable, rigid, easy to handle and does not generate substantial tension during the etching or metal detaching/delamination stage. In addition, unlike the frame chosen by De la Rosa et. al., the selected frames 51 52 are easily attached onto the protective layer surface 41 or metal foil 10, respectively, due to the adhesive polymer layer of the frame. Inventors have observed that the frames used in prior-art transfer methods are discouraged in transfer processes involving large-area graphene. The adhesive part of frame 51 52 must stand any stages of cleaning, metal removal, etc.

[0048] In a particular embodiment, the frames 51 52 are fabricated using REVALPHA adhesive tape, which is easily glued to the protective layer and metal foil sample.

[0049] The sample comprising bilayer graphene is now ready for removal of the metal foil 10. The metal foil 10 may be removed from the sample in a similar way as the one shown in figures 2C-2D. Thanks to the at least one frame 52, the sample has enough integrity for it to be handled (for example using tweezers or robotic arms). Also, thanks to the at least one frame 52, the sample is isolated from the presence of impurities that may be inserted between graphene layers during the removal of the metal foil 10. In embodiments in which two frames 51, 52 are used, as disclosed with reference to figures 6A-6B, because the sample comprising bilayer graphene is sealed by the frames, the two layers of graphene 21 20 are still better isolated from potential impurities and water that may be left during the removal of the metal foil. In a particular embodiment, removal of the metal foil 10 is done by picking up the sample as for example shown in figures 6B or 6C, which can be handled thanks to the frame 52 (in figure 6C) or frames 51 52 (in figure 6B), and making it float onto an etchant solution 6. This is illustrated in figure 7. Figure 7 refers to the sample having two frames (figure 6B) but it similarly applies to a sample having one frame (figure 6C). When the metal foil is a Cu foil, the etchant solution 6 may be a Cu etchant solution. The metal foil may alternative be a Ni foil, in which case the etchant solution 6 may be a Ni etchant solution. The etchant solution 6 may for example be FeCl3 or ammonium persulphate or HCl/H2O2 (hydrochloric acid/oxygenated water). This etchant solution permits to get rid of the metal foil 10. And, thanks to the frame 52 (for example figure 6C) or the two frames 51, 52 (see for example figure 6B), impurities from the etchant solution are prevented from being inserted between the graphene layers. It is remarked that although not encapsulated, in figure 6C the frame 52 isolates the graphene layers from the etchant solution thanks to the thickness of the frame 52, which makes the graphene layers float above the level of etchant solution. Afterwards, in order to remove etchant residues, the sample, substantially free of metal, is preferably cleaned several times with fresh distilled water. In embodiments of the invention, additional cleaning with specific compositions, such as HCl:H2O2 or NH4OH:H2O2, may be used in order to remove potential metal residues that may also contaminate the sample. In an alternative embodiment, removal of the metal foil and detachment of the (frame)/protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer is done by H2 bubbles during H2O electrolysis, as a skilled person in the art is aware of. Alternatively, removal of the metal foil and detachment of the (frame)/protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer is done by spraying the assembly with an etchant solution (i.e. Cu etchant solution). The outcome of this stage of removing the metal foil is shown in figures 8A and 8B, wherein respective cross-sectional views of a sample formed by a frame/ protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/frame stack is shown in figure 8A and a sample formed by a protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/frame stack is shown in figure 8B. All the metal foil 10 not covered by frame 52 (see the hollow part of the frame illustrated in figure 5) has been removed.

[0050] Once the metal foil 10 has been removed, as shown in figures 8A and 8B, the frame/ protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/ frame stack or protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/ frame stack is transferred onto the final substrate or onto a new graphene/metal foil in order to respectively obtain bilayer graphene on an arbitrary substrate or continue to prepare a trilayer graphene sample. The stack may also be stacked on a graphene layer/metal foil stack 200 like the one shown in figure 2B by any conventional layer-by-layer method (LBL method). A sample 70 comprising 3-layer graphene is obtained, as shown in figure 9. After such transfer, frame 52 or frames 51, 52 must be either cut from the sample or thermally released therefrom. That is why the inner length I and width w (in general, inner dimension) of the frames are substantially the same as respectively length and width of the sample: removal of the frame is preferably done by cutting through the protective layer 41 at the inside borders. Alternatively, it may be done by heating (thermal release). The specific size and shape of the frames 51 52 will depend on the number of graphene layers that will form the multilayer graphene and on the final substrate used (substrate to which the multilayer graphene is to be transferred). In embodiments in which the frame or frames are going to be thermally released, the dimensions of the frames do not need to be larger than those of the substrate. Instead, in this case the dimensions of the frames can be substantially the same as the dimensions of the substrate or smaller. This is to be considered as an example, since larger areas of graphene can be transferred thanks to the proposed method.

[0051] We refer now to the sample 70 formed by protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/ graphene layer/metal foil stack illustrated in figure 9. It is remarked that in order not to reuse numerical references, the graphene layer/metal foil stack on which the bilayer stack is in turn stacked, is now referred to as 121, 111, wherein 111 refers to the metal foil (11 on figure 2B) and 121 refers to the graphene layer (21 in figure 2B). The process of applying one frame 152 or two frames 151 152 is then repeated, as shown in figures 10B and 10A respectively, in a similar way as with reference to figures 6A-6C: In figure 10B, a lower frame 152 is attached on the metal foil 111, thus providing integrity and preventing impurities, such as metal impurities, and water from damaging the graphene layers 21 20 121. In figure 10A, an upper frame 151 is attached on the protective layer 41 and a lower frame 152 is attached on the metal foil 111, thus providing integrity, preventing impurities and water from damaging the graphene layers 21 20 121 and contributing to maintain the graphene layers in their right position with respect to each other. This process may be repeated as many times as desired (as many times as layers of graphene need to comprise the multilayer graphene). If, for example, 3-layer graphene is required, the metal foil 111 is removed once the frame 152 or the frames 151, 152, as the case may be, have been attached. The frame 152 or frames 151, 152 may be removed once the assembly including the frame or frames has been transferred to the target substrate. In other words, the frame or frames are not removed until the whole stack comprising multilayer graphene has been transferred to a target substrate. If for example 6 layers of graphene need to be stacked, the process of adding one more graphene monolayer by stacking the already stacked graphene layers on a new graphene monolayer grown on a metal foil is repeated until the sample comprises 6 graphene monolayers.

[0052] Prior to depositing or suspending the stack of graphene layers 21 20 121 onto a target substrate, sometimes the graphene layers need to be dried, because if graphene is wet when it is deposited onto a substrate having cavities or holes, the graphene collapses with the water that has fallen into the cavities of the substrate; or if graphene is wet when it is deposited on a substrate having at least one water soluble layer, the water soluble layer will be dissolved or permanently damaged. So, when the stack of graphene layers is clean, the sample is taken out of the cleaning water and the remaining water is dried. The sample must be dried for a certain time: In embodiments of the invention, this time is the time required for graphene becoming totally dry, while the protective layer maintains certain humidity in order to keep flexibility (if it does not maintain certain flexibility, it may become glassy and it may easily break when it is deposited onto a substrate). Preferably the sample is dried from a few seconds (2-3 seconds) up to a few minutes (around 10 minutes). It is preferably dried at room temperature or up to 100°C. In embodiments of the invention, in which the protective layer is already fully dried, the sample is preferably dried at a temperature ranging between 150 and 170 ºC, for example between 158 and 162 ºC. In embodiments of the invention, the sample may be dried once the stack of graphene layers is deposited or suspended onto a target substrate. In these cases, the sample may be dried either under atmospheric pressure or vacuum, using inert atmosphere, reducing atmosphere or air. In a preferred embodiment, the sample is dried using a N2 gun.

[0053] The resulting multilayer graphene stack may be deposited onto a substrate. The substrate may be a flat substrate or a substrate having cavities or holes or a water-soluble substrate. Non-limiting examples of target substrates on which the sample can be deposited are: 300 nm SiO2/Si with cavities, metallic layer/SiO2/Si with cavities (metallic layer can be Au, Pd, Pt, Ni, etc.), Al2O3, MoO3/Si, AuCl3/Si, or others. The target substrate is preferably heated prior to receiving the sample. The dried sample (protective layer/multilayer graphene layer/frame if only one frame has been used, or frame/protective layer/multilayer graphene layer/frame if two frames have been used) is then placed on top of the target substrate. In embodiments of the invention, once placed on the target substrate, the sample may be dried up at a temperature preferably ranging between room temperature and 200ºC, and also preferably, from a few seconds (2-3 seconds) up to a few hours (around 2 hours). In embodiments of the invention it may be dried using atmospheric pressure or vacuum. In embodiments of the invention it may be dried using inert atmosphere, reducing atmosphere or air. In embodiments of the invention the sample is left on the substrate at room temperature until it is dry and then put under vacuum, for example, but without limitation, at around 80ºC.

[0054] The sample then remains substantially adhered to the substrate by means of Van der Waals interaction forces. Afterwards, the frame or frames are easily removed, for example but without limitation by cutting through the protective layer at the inner borders of the frame or frames or by thermal release. Once the frame or frames have been removed, the sample may be baked to improve adhesion. In a particular embodiment, the sample may be baked from a few seconds (2-3 seconds) up to a few hours (around 2 hours). In a particular embodiment, the sample may be baked at a temperature varying from room temperature up to 300ºC, preferably between 170º and 250ºC. In embodiments of the invention it may be baked using atmospheric pressure or vacuum. In embodiments of the invention it may be baked using inert atmosphere, reducing atmosphere or air. The protective layer is then removed. This may be done by means of a thermal treatment, since weight applied by solvents may break the multilayer graphene layer in the case that the graphene is suspended on cavities. Alternatively, the protective layer may be removed using acetone vapor. In embodiments in which it is removed by thermal treatment, it may be removed by thermal treatment at a temperature varying between 150º and 500ºC for a time period varying between 10 mins and 4 hours, using an inert, reducing or non-oxygen containing atmosphere, such as N2, Ar, H2, Ar, vacuum, etc. or a combination of them. In yet another embodiment the protective layer may be removed by dipping into solvents such as acetone.

[0055] The performance of the multilayer graphene has been analyzed using non-destructive techniques, such as optical microscopy. The quality of the graphene films has been analyzed using Raman spectroscopy, AFM and SEM. The multilayer graphene produced using the process described in this invention has a very high quality, cleanliness, yield, homogeneity and uniformity, as it will be demonstrated in the following examples. Besides, the performance of the suspended multilayer graphene on cavities has been analyzed using similar techniques. The suspended multilayer graphene produced using the process described in this invention is also of very high quality, yield, homogeneity and uniformity.

[0056] Next some examples of obtaining three-layer graphene by means of the method of the invention are described.

[0057] In a first experiment, bilayer graphene has been produced by transferring monolayer Graphene onto monolayer Graphene/Cu as described with reference to figure 4, that is to say, without using frames (and therefore without isolation provided by the one or two frames), as taught by Jing-Jing Chen et al. in "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", Scientific Reports, 4:5065, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065 (27 May 2014). This is shown in figure 11a. Also, bilayer graphene has been produced according to the method of this disclosure, using two frames as shown in figures 6A-6B (but with two layers of graphene). This is shown in figure 11b. As can be seen in figure 11a, a high amount of impurities are trapped in between the two graphene layers with respect to those trapped in the case of using frames (figure 11b). This is because the encapsulation proposed in the present disclosure strongly reduces the amount of impurities. The experiment was repeated for obtaining 4-layer graphene: 4-layer graphene has been produced by transferring monolayer Graphene onto monolayer Graphene/Cu using a conventional multilayer process, that is to say, without using frames (and therefore without isolation provided by the two frames), as taught by Jing-Jing Chen et al. in "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", Scientific Reports, 4:5065, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065 (27 May 2014). This is shown in figure 11c. Also, 4-layer graphene has been produced according to the method of this disclosure, using two frames as shown in figures 6A-6B or 10A (but with 4 layers of graphene). This is shown in figure 11d. As can be observed, the amount of impurities when using the encapsulation method of this disclosure is substantially reduced.

[0058] In a second experiment, it is proved that the encapsulation of multilayer graphene with frames as proposed in the present disclosure contributes to keeping the mechanical integrity of the multilayer graphene and to minimize the friction between layers, reducing the amount and size of holes in the graphene. Figure 12a shows a bilayer graphene sample produced by standard multilayer transfer as taught by Jing-Jing Chen et al. in "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", Scientific Reports, 4:5065, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065 (27 May 2014); in this case, when etching the Cu foil of the protective layer/graphene layer/graphene layer/metal foil stack shown for example in figure 4, there is strong friction in between the layers during Cu etching. As result, a lot of holes, marked with an arrow, can be observed in the bilayer graphene stack shown in figure 12a. Figure 12b shows the improvements obtained in terms of size and amount of holes achieved when the method according to the present disclosure is used (frames encapsulating the stack).

[0059] In a third experiment, the sheet resistance of different samples of multilayer graphene (2 layers, 3 layers and 4 layers) obtained by using different transfer processes has been analysed and the results summarized in Table 1. The sheet resistance indicates the resistance that the material poses to the electric current. The inverse concept to the sheet resistance is the electrical conductivity. Thus, low sheet resistance implies high electrical conductivity and vice versa. As can be observed, when using multilayer graphene samples produced by a standard multilayer transfer, as taught by Jing-Jing Chen et al. in "Fabrication and Electrical Properties of Stacked Graphene Monolayers", Scientific Reports, 4:5065, DOI: 10.1038/srep05065 (27 May 2014), although the sheet resistance decreases when stacking 3 layers of graphene with respect to stacking 2 layers of graphene, there is a strong variation in the values obtained as a consequence of the water, the holes and the impurities that are trapped in between the layers. The encapsulation method proposed in the present disclosure significantly improves these values, not also decreasing the sheet resistance but also minimising the variation range. In addition, with the standard multilayer transfer no decreasing in the sheet resistance was observed when stacking 4 layers of graphene. The reason seems to be related to the high amount of impurities that are trapped in between the layers as observed in the first experiment (Figure 11c).
Table 1
Sheet resistance (Ω/sq)
 300nm SiO2/Si Substrate
Nº layersStandard Multi layer transferMultilayer transfer with encapsulation
1L 450±20
2L 309±145 266±6
3L 205±105 159±10
4L 240±98 130±8


[0060] The examples show that accumulating several layers of graphene without trapping impurities between these layers has been achieved. By simply repeating the method as many times as an application may require, a thick multiplayer graphene can be obtained.

[0061] On the other hand, the invention is obviously not limited to the specific embodiment(s) described herein, but also encompasses any variations that may be considered by any person skilled in the art (for example, as regards the choice of materials, dimensions, components, configuration, etc.), within the general scope of the invention as defined in the claims.


Claims

1. A method of obtaining multilayer graphene, comprising:

- depositing a first graphene monolayer (21) having a protective layer (41) on top thereof, on a sample comprising a second graphene monolayer (20) grown on a first metal foil (10);

the method being characterized in that it comprises:

- attaching to said first metal foil (10) a first frame (52), said first frame (52) comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer, the thickness of said first frame (52) being between 0.01 and 1 mm;

- etching said first metal foil (10), wherein thanks to the first frame (52), impurities from an etchant solution are prevented from being inserted between the graphene layers;

- depositing the stack formed by said protective layer (41), said first graphene monolayer (21), said second graphene monolayer (20) and said first frame (52) on a sample comprising a third graphene monolayer (121) grown on a second metal foil (111), such that three layers of graphene (21, 20, 121) are stacked;

- removing said first frame (52);

- attaching to said second metal foil (111) another frame (152), said another frame (152) comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer;

- etching said second metal foil (111);

- repeating the previous stages as many times as layers of graphene need to be stacked to form a stack of multilayer graphene.


 
2. A method of obtaining multilayer graphene, comprising:

- depositing a first graphene monolayer (21) having a protective layer (41) on top thereof, on a sample comprising a second graphene monolayer (20) grown on a first metal foil (10);

the method being characterized in that it comprises:

- attaching to said protective layer (41) a first frame (51) and attaching to said first metal foil (10) a second frame (52), said first frame (51) and said second frame (52) comprising a substrate and a thermal release adhesive polymer layer, the thickness of said first frame and said second frame being between 0.01 and 1 mm,

- sealing said first and second graphene monolayers (21, 20) by pressing said first and second frames (51, 52) against each other, in such a way that the distance between said graphene monolayers (21, 20) is minimized and said graphene monolayers (21, 20) become totally surrounded by the outer perimeter of said frames (51, 52);

- etching said first metal foil (10) while said sealing of said first and second graphene monolayers (21, 20) prevents impurities from damaging said first and second graphene monolayers (21, 20).


 
3. The method of claim 1, further comprising, once said first metal foil (10) or second metal foil (111) has been etched:

- drying the stack comprising said protective layer (41) and graphene monolayers;

- depositing the stack onto a substrate;

- removing the frame attached for the last time.


 
4. The method of claim 2, further comprising, once said first metal foil (10) has been etched:

- drying the stack comprising said protective layer (41) and graphene monolayers;

- depositing the stack onto a substrate;

- removing the frames


 
5. The method of either claim 3 or 4, wherein said substrate is a flat substrate or a substrate having cavities or holes or a substrate comprising a water-soluble layer.
 
6. The method of any preceding claims, wherein said protective layer (41) is selected from the following group: poly (methyl methacrylate) (PMMA), cellulose nitrate (NC), cellulose acetate butyrate (CAB), poly (lactic acid) (PLA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA), poly (phthalaldehyde) (PPA), poly(bisphenol A carbonate) (PC), as well as any combination or derivative of any of the former compounds.
 
7. The method of any preceding claims, wherein said frame or frames (51, 52, 151, 152) have a Young's modulus equal or higher than 10MPa, more preferably higher than 500MPa, still more preferably between 500MPa and 6,000MPa, and even more preferably between 1,500MPa and 4,000MPa.
 
8. The method of claim 7, wherein said frames (51, 52, 151, 152) are made of an adhesive tape.
 
9. The method of any preceding claims, wherein the removal of said frame or frames (51, 52, 151, 152) is done by cutting through said protective layer (41) through at least one inner border of the frame or frames (51, 52, 151, 152).
 
10. The method of any preceding claims when dependent on claim 1, wherein after removing said first metal foil (10) or second metal foil (111) by an etchant solution (6), the sample is cleaned with distilled water.
 
11. The method of any preceding claims when dependent on claim 2, wherein after removing said first metal foil (10) by an etchant solution (6), the sample is cleaned with distilled water.
 
12. The method of any preceding claims, further comprising removing said protective layer (41).
 
13. The method of claim 2, further comprising:

- depositing the stack formed by said first frame (51), said protective layer (41), said first graphene monolayer (21), said second graphene monolayer (20) and said second frame (52) on a sample comprising a third graphene monolayer (121) grown on a second metal foil (111), such that three layers of graphene are stacked;

- removing said first and second frames (51, 52);

- attaching to said protective layer (41) a frame (151) and attaching to said second metal foil (111) another frame (152), said frames (151, 152) comprising a substrate and
a thermal release adhesive polymer layer;

- sealing said graphene monolayers (21, 20, 121) by pressing said first and second frames (151, 152) against each other, in such a way that the distance between said graphene monolayers (21, 20, 121) is minimized and said graphene monolayers (21, 20, 121) become totally surrounded by the outer perimeter of said frames (151, 152);

- etching said second metal foil (111) while said sealing of said graphene monolayers (21, 20, 121) prevents impurities from damaging said graphene monolayers (21, 20, 121);

- repeating the previous stages as many times as layers of graphene need to be stacked to form a stack of multilayer graphene.


 


Ansprüche

1. Verfahren zum Erhalten eines Mehrschicht-Graphens, umfassend:

- Ablegen einer ersten Graphen-Monoschicht (21), die auf sich eine Schutzschicht (41) aufweist, auf einer Probe, die eine zweite Graphen-Monoschicht (20) aufweist, die auf einer ersten Metallfolie (10) gewachsen ist;

wobei das Verfahren dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass es umfasst:

- Anbringen eines ersten Rahmens (52) an der ersten Metallfolie (10), wobei der erste Rahmen (52) ein Substrat und eine thermisch lösbare Polymerklebstoffschicht umfasst, wobei die Dicke des ersten Rahmens (52) zwischen 0,01 und 1 mm beträgt;

- Ätzen der ersten Metallfolie (10), wobei dank dem ersten Rahmen (52) Verunreinigungen aus einer Ätzlösung daran gehindert werden, zwischen die Graphenschichten zu gelangen;

- Ablegen des von der Schutzschicht (41), der ersten Graphen-Monoschicht (21), der zweiten Graphen-Monoschicht (20) und dem Rahmen (52) ausgebildeten Stapels auf einer Probe, die eine dritte Graphen-Monoschicht (121) umfasst, die auf einer zweiten Metallfolie (111) gewachsen ist, sodass drei Lagen Graphen (21, 20, 121) übereinander gestapelt sind;

- Entfernen des ersten Rahmens (52);

- Anbringen eines weiteren Rahmens (152) an der zweiten Metallfolie, wobei der weitere Rahmen (152) ein Substrat und eine thermisch lösbare Polymerklebstoffschicht umfasst;

- Ätzen der zweiten Metallfolie (111);

- Wiederholen der vorhergehenden Schritte so oft, wie Lagen aus Graphen übereinander gestapelt werden müssen, um einen Stapel aus Mehrschicht-Graphen auszubilden.


 
2. Verfahren zum Erhalten eines Mehrschicht-Graphens, umfassend:

- Ablegen einer ersten Graphen-Monoschicht (21), die auf sich eine Schutzschicht (41) aufweist, auf einer Probe, die eine zweite Graphen-Monoschicht (20) umfasst, die auf einer ersten Metallfolie (10) gewachsen ist;

wobei das Verfahren dadurch gekennzeichnet ist, dass es umfasst:

- Anbringen eines ersten Rahmens (51) an der Schutzschicht (41) und Anbringen eines zweiten Rahmens (52) an der ersten Metallfolie (10), wobei der erste Rahmen (51) und der zweite Rahmen (52) ein Substrat und eine thermisch lösbare Polymerklebstoffschicht umfassen, wobei die Dicke des ersten Rahmens (52) und des zweiten Rahmens (52) zwischen 0,01 und 1 mm beträgt;

- Einsiegeln der ersten und der zweiten Graphen-Monoschicht (21, 20) durch Drücken des ersten und des zweiten Rahmens (51, 52) gegeneinander in einer solchen Weise, dass der Abstand zwischen den Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20) minimiert wird und die Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20) vollständig von dem äußeren Rand der Rahmen (51, 52) umgeben werden;

- Ätzen der ersten Metallfolie (10), während die Einsiegelung der ersten und der zweiten Graphen-Monoschicht (21, 20) verhindert, dass Verunreinigungen die erste und die zweite Graphen-Monoschicht (21, 20) beschädigen.


 
3. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 1, ferner umfassend: nachdem die erste Metallfolie (10) oder zweite Metallfolie (111) geätzt wurden:

- Trocknen des Stapels, der die Schutzschicht (41) und die Graphen-Monoschichten umfasst;

- Ablegen des Stapels auf einem Substrat;

- Entfernen des zuletzt angebrachten Rahmens.


 
4. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 2, ferner umfassend: nachdem die erste Metallfolie (10) geätzt wurde:

- Trocknen des Stapels, der die Schutzschicht (41) und die Graphen-Monoschichten umfasst;

- Ablegen des Stapels auf einem Substrat;

- Entfernen der Rahmen.


 
5. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 3 oder 4, wobei das Substrat ein flaches Substrat oder ein Substrat, das Hohlräume oder Bohrungen hat, oder ein Substrat ist, das eine wasserlösliche Schicht hat.
 
6. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei die Schutzschicht (41) aus der folgenden Gruppe ausgewählt ist:
Polymethylmethacrylat (PMMA), Cellulosenitrat (NC), Celluloseacetatbutyrat (CAB), Polylactid (PLA), Polyvinylalkohol (PVA), Polyphthalaldehyd (PPA), Polybisphenol A Carbonat (PC), sowie eine beliebige Kombination und Ableitung aus einer der vorhergehenden Verbindungen.
 
7. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei der Rahmen oder die Rahmen (51, 52, 151, 152) einen E-Modul größer oder gleich 10 MPa, besser größer als 500 MPa, noch besser zwischen 500 MPa und 6.000 MPa und sogar noch besser zwischen 1.500 MPa und 4.000 MPa haben.
 
8. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 7, wobei die Rahmen (51, 52, 151, 152) aus einem Klebeband hergestellt werden.
 
9. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das Entfernen des Rahmens oder der Rahmen (51, 52, 151, 152) dadurch erfolgt, dass durch die Schutzschicht (41) durch mindestens einen inneren Rand des Rahmens oder der Rahmen (51, 52, 151, 152) geschnitten wird.
 
10. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wenn sie von Anspruch 1 abhängen, wobei nach dem Entfernen der ersten Metallfolie (10) oder zweiten Metallfolie (111) durch eine Ätzlösung (6) die Probe mit destilliertem Wasser gereinigt wird.
 
11. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wenn sie von Anspruch 2 abhängen, wobei nach dem Entfernen der ersten Metallfolie (10) durch eine Ätzlösung (6) die Probe mit destilliertem Wasser gereinigt wird.
 
12. Verfahren gemäß einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, ferner umfassend Entfernen der Schutzschicht (41).
 
13. Verfahren gemäß Anspruch 2, ferner umfassend:

- Ablegen des von dem ersten Rahmen (51), der Schutzschicht (41), der ersten Graphen-Monoschicht (21), der zweiten Graphen-Monoschicht (20) und dem zweiten Rahmen (52) ausgebildeten Stapels auf einer Probe, die eine dritte Graphen-Monoschicht (121) umfasst, die auf einer zweiten Metallfolie (111) gewachsen ist, sodass drei Lagen Graphen übereinander gestapelt sind;

- Entfernen des ersten und zweiten Rahmens (51, 52);

- Anbringen eines ersten Rahmens (151) an der Schutzschicht (41) und Anbringen eines weiteren Rahmens (152) an der zweiten Metallfolie (111), wobei die Rahmen (151, 152) ein Substrat und eine thermisch lösbare Polymerklebstoffschicht umfassen;

- Einsiegeln der Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20, 121) durch Drücken des ersten und des zweiten Rahmens (151, 152) gegeneinander in einer solchen Weise, dass der Abstand zwischen den Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20, 121) minimiert wird und die Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20, 121) vollständig von dem äußeren Rand der Rahmen (151, 152) umgeben werden;

- Ätzen der zweiten Metallfolie (111), während die Einsiegelung der Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20, 121) verhindert, dass Verunreinigungen die Graphen-Monoschichten (21, 20, 121) beschädigen;

- Wiederholen der vorhergehenden Schritte so oft, wie Lagen aus Graphen übereinander gestapelt werden müssen, um einen Stapel aus Mehrschicht-Graphen auszubilden.


 


Revendications

1. Méthode d'obtention de graphène multicouche, comprenant :

- le dépôt d'une première monocouche de graphène (21) ayant une couche protectrice (41) sur le dessus de celle-ci, sur un échantillon comprenant une deuxième monocouche de graphène (20) ayant crû sur une première feuille métallique (10) ;

la méthode étant caractérisée en ce qu'elle comprend :

- l'attachement, à ladite première feuille métallique (10), d'un premier bâti (52), ledit premier bâti (52) comprenant un substrat et une couche polymère adhésive à décollement thermique, l'épaisseur dudit premier bâti (52) étant comprise entre 0,01 et 1 mm ;

- la gravure de ladite première feuille métallique (10), dans laquelle, grâce au premier bâti (52), les impuretés issues de la solution de gravure sont empêchées d'être insérées entre les couches de graphène ;

- le dépôt de l'empilement formé par ladite couche protectrice (41), ladite monocouche de graphène (21), ladite deuxième monocouche de graphène (20) et ledit premier bâti (52) sur un échantillon comprenant une troisième monocouche de graphène (121) ayant crû sur une deuxième feuille métallique (111), de façon que trois couches de graphène (21, 20, 121) soient empilées ;

- le retrait dudit premier bâti (52) ;

- l'attachement, à ladite deuxième feuille métallique (111), d'un autre bâti (152), ledit autre bâti (152) comprenant un substrat et une couche polymère adhésive à décollement thermique ;

- la gravure de ladite deuxième feuille métallique (111) ;

- la répétition des étapes précédentes autant de fois qu'il faut empiler de couches de graphène pour former un empilement de graphène multicouche.


 
2. Méthode d'obtention de graphène multicouche, comprenant :

- le dépôt d'une première monocouche de graphène (21) ayant une couche protectrice (41) sur le dessus de celle-ci, sur un échantillon comprenant une deuxième monocouche de graphène (20) ayant crû sur une première feuille métallique (10) ;

la méthode étant caractérisée en ce qu'elle comprend :

- l'attachement, à ladite couche protectrice (41), d'un premier bâti (51), et l'attachement, à ladite première feuille métallique (10), d'un deuxième bâti (52), ledit premier bâti (51) et ledit deuxième bâti (52) comprenant un substrat et une couche polymère adhésive à décollement thermique, l'épaisseur dudit premier bâti (52) et dudit deuxième bâti (52) étant comprise entre 0,01 et 1 mm ;

- le scellement desdites première et deuxième monocouches de graphène (21, 20) par pressage desdits premier et deuxième bâtis (51, 52) l'un contre l'autre, de telle façon que la distance entre lesdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20) soit minimisée et que lesdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20) deviennent totalement entourées par le périmètre extérieur desdits bâtis (51, 52) ;

- la gravure de ladite première feuille métallique (10) alors que ledit scellement desdites première et deuxième monocouches de graphène (21, 20) empêche les impuretés d'endommager lesdites première et deuxième monocouches de graphène (21, 20).


 
3. Méthode selon la revendication 1, comprenant en outre, une fois que ladite première feuille métallique (10) ou deuxième feuille métallique (111) a été gravée :

- le séchage de l'empilement comprenant ladite couche protectrice (41) et les monocouches de graphène ;

- le dépôt de l'empilement sur un substrat ;

- le retrait du bâti attaché en dernier.


 
4. Méthode selon la revendication 2, comprenant en outre, une fois que ladite première feuille métallique (10) a été gravée :

- le séchage de l'empilement comprenant ladite couche protectrice (41) et les monocouches de graphène ;

- le dépôt de l'empilement sur un substrat ;

- le retrait des bâtis.


 
5. Méthode selon l'une ou l'autre des revendications 3 ou 4, dans laquelle ledit substrat est un substrat plat ou un substrat ayant des cavités ou des trous ou un substrat comprenant une couche soluble dans l'eau.
 
6. Méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle ladite couche protectrice (41) est choisie dans le groupe suivant : poly(méthacrylate de méthyle) (PMMA), nitrate de cellulose (NC), acétobutyrate de cellulose (CAB), poly(acide lactique) (PLA), poly(alcool vinylique) (PVA), polyphtalaldéhyde (PPA), poly(carbonate de bisphénol A) (PC), ainsi que n'importe quelle combinaison ou dérivé de n'importe lesquels des composés précédents.
 
7. Méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ledit bâti ou lesdits bâtis (51, 52, 151, 152) ont un module de Young égal ou supérieur à 10 MPa, plus préférentiellement supérieur à 500 MPa, encore plus préférentiellement compris entre 500 MPa et 6 000 MPa, et plus préférentiellement compris entre 1 500 MPa et 4 000 MPa.
 
8. Méthode selon la revendication 7, dans laquelle lesdits bâtis (51, 52, 151, 152) sont faits d'une bande adhésive.
 
9. Méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans laquelle le retrait dudit bâti ou desdits bâtis (51, 52, 151, 152) est effectué par découpe à travers ladite couche protectrice (41) à travers au moins une bordure intérieure du bâti ou des bâtis (51, 52, 151, 152).
 
10. Méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes lorsqu'elle dépend de la revendication 1, dans laquelle, après le retrait de ladite première feuille métallique (10) ou deuxième feuille métallique (111) au moyen d'une solution d'agent de gravure (6), l'échantillon est nettoyé à l'eau distillée.
 
11. Méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes lorsqu'elle dépend de la revendication 2, dans laquelle, après le retrait de ladite première feuille métallique (10) au moyen d'une solution d'agent de gravure (6), l'échantillon est nettoyé à l'eau distillée.
 
12. Méthode selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, comprenant en outre le retrait de ladite couche protectrice (41).
 
13. Méthode selon la revendication 2, comprenant en outre :

- le dépôt de l'empilement formé par ledit premier bâti (51), ladite couche protectrice (41), ladite première monocouche de graphène (21), ladite deuxième monocouche de graphène (20) et ledit deuxième bâti (52) sur un échantillon comprenant une troisième monocouche de graphène (121) ayant crû sur une feuille métallique (111), de façon que trois couches de graphène soient empilées ;

- le retrait desdits premier et deuxième bâtis (51, 52) ;

- l'attachement d'un bâti (151) à ladite couche protectrice (41) et l'attachement d'un autre bâti (152) à ladite deuxième feuille métallique (111), lesdits bâtis (151, 152) comprenant un substrat et une couche polymère adhésive à décollement thermique ;

- le scellement desdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20, 121) par pressage desdits premier et deuxième bâtis (151, 152) l'un contre l'autre, de telle façon que la distance entre lesdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20, 121) soit minimisée et que lesdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20, 121) deviennent totalement entourées par le périmètre extérieur desdits bâtis (151, 152) ;

- la gravure de ladite deuxième feuille métallique (111) alors que ledit scellement desdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20, 121) empêche les impuretés d'endommager lesdites monocouches de graphène (21, 20, 121) ;

- la répétition des étapes précédentes autant de fois qu'il faut empiler de couches de graphène pour former un empilement de graphène multicouche.


 




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Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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Patent documents cited in the description




Non-patent literature cited in the description