Clusters and Graphene
Epitaxial growth of graphene is the most suitable method to grow a large, well ordered and almost defect-free layer of graphene. In our group we use chemical vapor deposition by hydrocarbons (e.g. ethylene - C2H4) on transition metal elements (most prominently Iridium) to grow exactly one layer of graphene.
Graphene on Ir(111) is an ideal template for the gowth of extended, well ordered metal cluster lattices. The clusters can be very small (less than 10 atoms) with a narrow size distribution. The graphene acts as an active templated, i.e. it transforms during the adsoprtion of the clusters from a graphene-like sp2 hybridized sheet to a diamond-like sp3-hybridized patch underneath the clusters. In addition, one can expect that the clusters can exchange electrons through the graphene, possibly also without loosing the spin orientation due to the outstanding transport properties of graphene. The method is rather versatile, up to now clusters of Ir, Pt, W, Rh, Au, and Fe haven been grown.