Bilayer graphene formed by passage of current through graphite: evidence for a three-dimensional structure
The passage of an electric current through graphite or few-layer graphene can result in a striking structural transformation, but there is disagreement about the precise nature of this process. Some workers have interpreted the phenomenon in terms of the sublimation and edge reconstruction of essentially flat graphitic structures. An alternative explanation is that the transformation actually involves a change from a flat to a three-dimensional structure. Here we describe detailed studies of carbon produced by the passage of a current through graphite which provide strong evidence that the transformed carbon is indeed three-dimensional. The evidence comes primarily from images obtained in the scanning transmission electron microscope using the technique of high-angle annular dark-field imaging, and from a detailed analysis of electron energy loss spectra. We discuss the possible mechanism of the transformation, and consider potential applications of ‘three-dimensional bilayer graphene’.