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Several methods have been reported for the growth of monolayer graphene into areas large enough for integration into silicon electronics. However, the electronic properties of the graphene are often degraded by grain boundaries and wrinkles. Lee et al. (p. 286, published online 3 April) showed that flat, single crystals of monolayer graphene can be grown by chemical-vapor deposition on silicon wafers covered by a germanium layer that aligns the grains. The graphene can be dry-transferred to other substrates, and the germanium layer can be reused for further growth cycles.
The uniform growth of single-crystal graphene over wafer-scale areas remains a challenge in the commercial-level manufacturability of various electronic, photonic, mechanical, and other devices based on graphene. Here, we describe wafer-scale growth of wrinkle-free single-crystal monolayer graphene on silicon wafer using a hydrogen-terminated germanium buffer layer. The anisotropic twofold symmetry of the germanium (110) surface allowed unidirectional alignment of multiple seeds, which were merged to uniform single-crystal graphene with predefined orientation. Furthermore, the weak interaction between graphene and underlying hydrogen-terminated germanium surface enabled the facile etch-free dry transfer of graphene and the recycling of the germanium substrate for continual graphene growth.