PerspectiveMaterials Science

Local Peeling of Graphene

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Science  04 Mar 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6021, pp. 1146-1147
DOI: 10.1126/science.1200779

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“Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away,” noted Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1). He could have been writing about graphene sheets, just an atomic layer or two thick, which have properties much more interesting than those of the bulk. From the time when graphite would be rubbed on an insulating surface with the hope that one of the exfoliated flakes would be a single layer, graphene manufacture has progressed rapidly and is now routinely grown on or transferred onto many substrates, even up to sizes large enough for TV displays (2). Despite such advances, reproducible spatial control over the number of graphene layers has not been achieved. On page 1168 of this issue, Dimiev et al. describe a technique that overcomes this limitation and allows peeling of graphene layer by layer at predetermined locations of the surface (3).