Preparation and structural analysis of thin graphene flakes for nanodevice fabrication
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Graphene, a single-atom layer of carbon, is one of the most exciting new areas of research in nanoelectronics. It has several unique properties that make it a promising material for a wide range of applications. The electrical properties aside, which are extraordinary in their own right, one of graphene's greatest advantages is its planar nature. Unlike carbon nanotubes, which are essentially flakes of graphene rolled into cylinders, graphene can be easily manipulated with standard fabrication techniques. We report on a variety of thin graphene flakes which we have isolated using a method we developed, both simple and reliable. By using micromechanical cleavage, we have isolated these layers and have analyzed them through a combination of optical and atomic force microscopy. These thin flakes are stable and exhibit high crystal quality. We also discuss use of photolithography techniques and metal deposition, and offer suggestions for future fabrication.