Scattering Theory of Graphene Grain Boundaries
Dipartimento di Fisica “E. R. Caianiello”, Università di Salerno, I-84084 Fisciano, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(9), 1660; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11091660
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 4 September 2018 / Accepted: 6 September 2018 / Published: 8 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in 2D Nanomaterials)
The implementation of graphene-based electronics requires fabrication processes that are able to cover large device areas, since the exfoliation method is not compatible with industrial applications. The chemical vapor deposition of large-area graphene represents a suitable solution; however, it has an important drawback of producing polycrystalline graphene with the formation of grain boundaries, which are responsible for the limitation of the device’s performance. With these motivations, we formulate a theoretical model of a single-layer graphene grain boundary by generalizing the graphene Dirac Hamiltonian model. The model only includes the long-wavelength regime of the charge carrier transport, which provides the main contribution to the device conductance. Using symmetry-based arguments deduced from the current conservation law, we derive unconventional boundary conditions characterizing the grain boundary physics and analyze their implications on the transport properties of the system. Angle resolved quantities, such as the transmission probability, are studied within the scattering matrix approach. The conditions for the existence of preferential transmission directions are studied in relation with the grain boundary properties. The proposed theory provides a phenomenological model to study grain boundary physics within the scattering approach, and represents per se an important enrichment of the scattering theory of polycrystalline graphene. Moreover, the outcomes of the theory can contribute to understanding and limiting the detrimental effects of graphene grain boundaries, while also providing a benchmark for more elaborate techniques.