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Impact of encapsulation method on the adsorbate induced electrical instability of monolayer graphene
Monolayer graphene transferred onto a set of silicon carbide (SiC) substrates was encapsulated with a thin SiO2 film in order to prevent its interaction with atmospheric adsorbates. The encapsulation of graphene samples was realized by using two different thin film growth methods such as thermal evaporation (TE) and state-of-the-art pulsed electron deposition (PED). The encapsulation efficiency of these two techniques on the structural and electrical characteristics of graphene was compared with each other. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis showed that unlike the SiO2 thin film grown with PED, structural defects like cracks were readily formed on TE grown films due to the lack of surface wettability. The electronic transport measurements revealed that the electrical resistivity of graphene has been increased by two orders of magnitude, and the carrier mobility has been subsequently decreased upon the encapsulation process with the PED method. However, in-vacuum transient photocurrent spectroscopy (TPS) measurements conducted for short periods and a few cycles showed that the graphene layer encapsulated with the PED grown SiO2 film is electrically far more stable than the one encapsulated with TE grown SiO2 film. The results of TPS measurements were related to the SEM images to unravel the mechanism behind the improved electrical stability of graphene samples encapsulated with the PED grown SiO2 film.