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Using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons for graphene growth on Cu(111) under ultra-high vacuum

Klein, Benedikt P.; Stoodley, Matthew A.; Edmondson, Matthew; Rochford, Luke A.; Walker, Marc; Sattler, Lars; Weber, Sebastian M.; Hilt, Gerhard; Williams, Leon B. S.; Lee, Tien-Lin; Saywell, Alex; Maurer, Reinhard J.; Duncan, David A.


Benedikt P. Klein

Matthew A. Stoodley

Matthew Edmondson

Luke A. Rochford

Marc Walker

Lars Sattler

Sebastian M. Weber

Gerhard Hilt

Leon B. S. Williams

Tien-Lin Lee

Reinhard J. Maurer

David A. Duncan


Ultra-high vacuum deposition of the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons azupyrene and pyrene onto a Cu(111) surface held at a temperature of 1000 K is herein shown to result in the formation of graphene. The presence of graphene was proven using scanning tunneling microscopy, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, and low energy electron diffraction. The precursors, azupyrene and pyrene, are comparatively large aromatic molecules in contrast to more commonly employed precursors like methane or ethylene. While the formation of the hexagonal graphene lattice could naively be expected when pyrene is used as a precursor, the situation is more complex for azupyrene. In this case, the non-alternant topology of azupyrene with only 5- and 7-membered rings must be altered to form the observed hexagonal graphene lattice. Such a rearrangement, converting a non-alternant topology into an alternant one, is in line with previous reports describing similar topological alterations, including the isomerization of molecular azupyrene to pyrene. The thermal synthesis route to graphene, presented here, is achievable at comparatively low temperatures and under ultra-high vacuum conditions, which may enable further investigations of the growth process in a strictly controlled and clean environment that is not accessible with traditional precursors.


Klein, B. P., Stoodley, M. A., Edmondson, M., Rochford, L. A., Walker, M., Sattler, L., …Duncan, D. A. (2022). Using polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons for graphene growth on Cu(111) under ultra-high vacuum. Applied Physics Letters, 121(19), Article 191603.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2022
Online Publication Date Nov 10, 2022
Publication Date Nov 7, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 15, 2022
Journal Applied Physics Letters
Print ISSN 0003-6951
Electronic ISSN 1077-3118
Publisher American Institute of Physics
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 121
Issue 19
Article Number 191603
Public URL
Publisher URL


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