DOI: 10.1002/smll.202306325 ISSN: 1613-6810

Silicon Radical‐Induced CH4 Dissociation for Uniform Graphene Coating on Silica Surface

Kritin Pirabul, Qi Zhao, Zheng‐Ze Pan, Hongyu Liu, Mutsuhiro Itoh, Kenichi Izawa, Makoto Kawai, Rachel Crespo‐Otero, Devis Di Tommaso, Hirotomo Nishihara
  • Biomaterials
  • Biotechnology
  • General Materials Science
  • General Chemistry


Due to the manufacturability of highly well‐defined structures and wide‐range versatility in its microstructure, SiO2 is an attractive template for synthesizing graphene frameworks with the desired pore structure. However, its intrinsic inertness constrains the graphene formation via methane chemical vapor deposition. This work overcomes this challenge by successfully achieving uniform graphene coating on a trimethylsilyl‐modified SiO2 (denote TMS‐MPS). Remarkably, the onset temperature for graphene growth dropped to 720 °C for the TMS‐MPS, as compared to the 885 °C of the pristine SiO2. This is found to be mainly from the Si radicals formed from the decomposition of the surface TMS groups. Both experimental and computational results suggest a strong catalytic effect of the Si radicals on the CH4 dissociation. The surface engineering of SiO2 templates facilitates the synthesis of high‐quality graphene sheets. As a result, the graphene‐coated SiO2 composite exhibits a high electrical conductivity of 0.25 S cm−1. Moreover, the removal of the TMP‐MPS template has released a graphene framework that replicates the parental TMS‐MPS template on both micro‐ and nano‐ scales. This study provides tremendous insights into graphene growth chemistries as well as establishes a promising methodology for synthesizing graphene‐based materials with pre‐designed microstructures and porosity.

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