The thermal decomposition of SiC wafers has proven to be a reliable method to obtain epitaxial graphene. However, the sublimation of Si induced by annealing of SiC substrates is notoriously difficult to control. To tackle the problem, the authors developed a fairly simple apparatus for the growth of micrometer-scale homogeneous single- and bilayer graphene in Ar atmosphere. The device is a furnace based on a considerably improved version of a directly heated element, and can achieve the desired sample quality reproducibly and efficiently. The authors characterize the samples prepared using this device by atomic force microscopy, low energy electron diffraction, Raman spectroscopy, scanning tunneling microscopy, x-ray photoemission spectroscopy, and near-edge x-ray absorption spectroscopy.

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