Nano Research

, Volume 2, Issue 9, pp 695–705

Shedding light on the crystallographic etching of multi-layer graphene at the atomic scale


    • IFW Dresden
  • Jamie H. Warner
    • Department of MaterialsUniversity of Oxford
  • Alicja Bachmatiuk
    • IFW Dresden
  • Bernd Rellinghaus
    • IFW Dresden
  • Bernd Büchner
    • IFW Dresden
  • Ludwig Schultz
    • IFW Dresden
  • Mark H. Rümmeli
    • IFW Dresden
Open AccessResearch Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12274-009-9073-0

Cite this article as:
Schäffel, F., Warner, J.H., Bachmatiuk, A. et al. Nano Res. (2009) 2: 695. doi:10.1007/s12274-009-9073-0


The controlled etching of graphite and graphene by catalytic hydrogenation is potentially a key engineering route for the fabrication of graphene nanoribbons with atomic precision. The hydrogenation mechanism, though, remains poorly understood. In this study we exploit the benefits of aberration-corrected high-resolution transmission electron microscopy to gain insight to the hydrogenation reaction. The etch tracks are found to be commensurate with the graphite lattice. Catalyst particles at the head of an etch channel are shown to be faceted and the angles between facets are multiples of 30°. Thus, the angles between facets are also commensurate with the graphite lattice. In addition, the results of a post-annealing step suggest that all catalyst particles—even if they are not involved in etching—are actively forming methane during the hydrogenation reaction. Furthermore, the data point against carbon dissolution being a key mechanism during the hydrogenation process.


Graphenegraphene nanoribbonscatalytic hydrogenationnanoparticles
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Supplementary material

12274_2009_9073_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1 mb)
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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2009