Synthesis of graphene and graphitic films
The overall problem to be addressed is the synthesis of graphene or graphitic coatings from the liquid phase. This work follows from a previous investigation, supported by a MITACS Accelerate grant, into the use of “poly(hydridocarbyne)” (PHC), a soluble carbon- hydrogen polymer, as a precursor for the formation of diamond- like carbon coatings. As a result of attempts to purify PHC by electrochemical cycling it was discovered that the surface of the polymer could be converted into a graphene or graphitic layer. This investigation will explore that breakthrough and proceed by the following steps: 1) chemical or electrochemical synthesis of PHC by several processes identified in previously; 2) coating PHC from solution onto electrically conductive substrate material, alternatively forming PHC into stand-alone films with limited electrical conductivity; 3) electrochemical conversion of PHC into graphene or graphitic films; 4) testing and characterization.
Graphene films have utility for their electrical and optical properties, and as a protective coating. The current method of fabrication is chemical vapour deposition (CVD). However, CVD is relatively expensive and also greatly limits the size and topography onto which the coating can be deposited.