Chemical vapour deposition (CVD) is a deposition technique where a catalyst is heated and exposed to precursor gases to allow growth of other materials, for instance graphene. Our CVD chamber enables graphene to be grown at low pressures providing cleaner graphene compared to growth in ambient conditions. Graphene has been regarded as a “wonder material” due to its high electrical conductivity and other important properties, e.g. being optical transparent and very strong. For instance, graphene is now used as a component in touchscreens in phones. We will be using graphene to improve how reactions are studied in XPS.
XPS (X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy) is a method of analysis used to study reactions on a materials surface. The method requires an ultra-high vacuum pressure (UHV) which limits its applications to study many reactions. There is an ever increasing amount of research into extending XPS to higher pressures and graphene could be vital in facilitating this. In previous research graphene has been used as an electron transparent window which maintains a large pressure differential across a silicon nitride membrane; thus systems with pressures up to 1.5 bar have been studied in XPS.