The tremendous interest for graphene started in 2005 with the measurement of the quantum Hall effect in this material. From this time there has been increasing effort in developing preparation methods liable to yield large-area and high quality graphene. The existing knowledge, dating back to the 1960s, set fertile grounds for rapid and efficient progresses. Industrials like Intel, Texas Instruments, Samsung, IBM, or Toshiba follow the route of graphene preparation by epitaxial growth on a crystalline substrate. The use of metal substrates offers scalability and low cost conditions. Within two years after 2008, when transparent, stretchable, large-area and highly conductive graphene electrodes were demonstrated, 50 to 100 new research groups worldwide got involved in graphene growth on metals, motivated by the prospect for applications like photovoltaics or displays.
Upstream this strong trend, fundamental aspects are actively explored. Europe occupies a special position in this respect, with a number of theory and surface science groups having pioneered the field. Decisive progresses were made in the last few years towards the understanding of the elementary processes during growth and the resulting structures, the fine characterization of the graphene/metal interaction, the tailoring of graphene's properties by tuning this interaction, or the design of novel hybrid structures with unique functionalities for spintronics, nanomagnetism, or nanocatalysis.
The aim of the European Workshop on Epitaxial Graphene was to intensify the discussion on the topic of graphene on metals, to explore new links between the different subfields involved and to pinpoint unsolved and controversial issues. The workshop will bring together leading experts and young researchers involved in surface science studies of the structural and physical properties, in the production of graphene from metallic supports (including device fabrication), and in theoretical investigations. The workshop provided ample time for discussion.
Further goals are:
- to identify key problems in a fundamental understanding of graphene growth processes,
- to encourage the development of state-of-the-art simulation of growth processes and structural properties,
- to stimulate works in the direction of tailoring graphene's properties with the help of metal contacts,
- to envision new fields of application for graphene/metal hybrid heterostructures,
- to favour interactions between experts on the issue of large-area, low-cost, and high quality graphene production,
- to establish a vivid communication between leading experts, post-docs, and PhD students, and thereby to fertilize the different fields involved.