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The effect of adsorbates on the electrical stability of graphene studied by transient photocurrent spectroscopy
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Adsorbate induced variations in the electrical conductivity of graphene layers with two different types of charge carriers are investigated by using the Transient Photocurrent Spectroscopy (TPS) measurement technique. In-vacuum TPS measurements taken for a duration of 5 ks revealed that the adsorption/desorption of atmospheric adsorbates leads to more than a 110% increment and a 45% decrement in the conductivity of epitaxial graphene (n-type) and chemical vapor deposition graphene (p-type) layers on semi-insulating silicon carbide (SiC) substrates, respectively. The graphene layers on SiC are encapsulated and passivated with a thin SiO2 film grown by the Pulsed Electron Deposition method. The measurements conducted for short periods and a few cycles showed that the encapsulation process completely suppresses the time dependent conductivity instability of graphene independent of its charge carrier type. The obtained results are used to construct an experimental model for identifying adsorbate related conductivity variations in graphene and also in other 2D materials with an inherently high surface-to-volume ratio.