Laser-induced phase separation of silicon carbide

I Choi and HY Jeong and H Shin and G Kang and M Byun and H Kim and AM Chitu and JS Im and RS Ruoff and SY Choi and KJ Lee, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS, 7, 13562 (2016).

DOI: 10.1038/ncomms13562

Understanding the phase separation mechanism of solid-state binary compounds induced by laser-material interaction is a challenge because of the complexity of the compound materials and short processing times. Here we present xenon chloride excimer laser-induced melt-mediated phase separation and surface reconstruction of single-crystal silicon carbide and study this process by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy and a time-resolved reflectance method. A single-pulse laser irradiation triggers melting of the silicon carbide surface, resulting in a phase separation into a disordered carbon layer with partially graphitic domains (similar to 2.5 nm) and polycrystalline silicon (similar to 5 nm). Additional pulse irradiations cause sublimation of only the separated silicon element and subsequent transformation of the disordered carbon layer into multilayer graphene. The results demonstrate viability of synthesizing ultra-thin nanomaterials by the decomposition of a binary system.

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