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Open Access Highly Accessed Nano Express

Layer-dependent morphologies of silver on n-layer graphene

Cheng-wen Huang1, Hsing-Ying Lin2, Chen-Han Huang2, Ren-Jye Shiue3, Wei-Hua Wang3, Chih-Yi Liu14 and Hsiang-Chen Chui14*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Photonics, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, 70101, Taiwan

2 Center for Nano Bio-Detection, National Chung Cheng University, Chiayi, 621, Taiwan

3 Institute of Atomic and Molecular Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, 10617, Taiwan

4 Advanced Optoelectronic Technology Center, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, 70101, Taiwan

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Nanoscale Research Letters 2012, 7:618  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-7-618

Published: 9 November 2012


The distributions of sizes of silver nanoparticles that were deposited on monolayer, bilayer, and trilayer graphene films were observed. Deposition was carried out by thermal evaporation and the graphene films, placed on SiO2/Si substrates, were obtained by the mechanical splitting of graphite. Before the deposition, optical microscopy and Raman spectroscopy were utilized to identify the number of the graphene layers. After the deposition, scanning electron microscopy was used to observe the morphologies of the particles. Systematic analysis revealed that the average sizes of the nanoparticles increased with the number of graphene layers. The density of nanoparticles decreased as the number of graphene layers increased, revealing a large variation in the surface diffusion strength of nanoparticles on the different substrates. The mechanisms of formation of these layer-dependent morphologies of silver on n-layer graphene are related to the surface free energy and surface diffusion of the n-layer graphene. The effect of the substrate such as SiO2/Si was investigated by fabricating suspended graphene, and the size and density were similar to those of supported graphene. Based on a comparison of the results, the different morphologies of the silver nanoparticles on different graphene layers were theorized to be caused only by the variation of the diffusion barriers with the number of layers of graphene.

Graphene; Nanoparticle growth mechanisms; Diffusion difference barriers; 68.65.Pq (graphene films); 68.70.+w (whiskers and dendrites); 78.67.Wj (optical properties of graphene)