Nano Research

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 137–142 | Cite as

Precise control of graphene etching by remote hydrogen plasma

  • Bangjun Ma
  • Shizhao Ren
  • Peiqi Wang
  • Chuancheng Jia
  • Xuefeng GuoEmail author
Research Article


Graphene with atomically smooth and configuration-specific edges plays the key role in the performance of graphene-based electronic devices. Remote hydrogen plasma etching of graphene has been proven to be an effective way to create smooth edges with a specific zigzag configuration. However, the etching process is still poorly understood. In this study, with the aid of a custom-made plasma-enhanced hydrogen etching (PEHE) system, a detailed graphene etching process by remote hydrogen plasma is presented. Specifically, we find that hydrogen plasma etching of graphene shows strong thickness and temperature dependence. The etching process of single-layer graphene is isotropic. This is opposite to the anisotropic etching effect observed for bilayer and thicker graphene with an obvious dependence on temperature. On the basis of these observations, a geometrical model was built to illustrate the configuration evolution of graphene edges during etching, which reveals the origin of the anisotropic etching effect. By further utilizing this model, armchair graphene edges were also prepared in a controlled manner for the first time. These investigations offer a better understanding of the etching process for graphene, which should facilitate the fabrication of graphene-based electronic devices with controlled edges and the exploration of more interesting properties of graphene.


graphene hydrogen plasma anisotropic etching electronic device 


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Financial support from the National Key R&D Program of China (No. 2017YFA0204901) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21373014 and 21727806) is gratefully acknowledged.

Supplementary material

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Electronic Supplementary Material


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Copyright information

© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bangjun Ma
    • 1
  • Shizhao Ren
    • 1
  • Peiqi Wang
    • 1
  • Chuancheng Jia
    • 1
  • Xuefeng Guo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Beijing National Laboratory for Molecular Sciences, State Key Laboratory for Structural Chemistry of Unstable and Stable Species, College of Chemistry and Molecular EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringPeking UniversityBeijingChina

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