Experiments during the first year of the LEAF-2D project showed that Laser Induced Backwards Transfer (LIBT) of 2D materials can be very difficult in an atmosphere of air. The 2D materials tend to break-up into fragments as they fly through the air before landing on the intended receiver surface. By using a vacuum chamber, researchers at the University of Southampton, Optoelectronics Research Centre were able to transfer intact monolayer Graphene onto glass – work that was recently published in the Journal of Applied Surface Science.
In order to use the same idea, but with their new laser system (New Laser System Up and Running) the researchers needed to make the vacuum chamber much smaller and lighter. They managed to do this using 3D printed parts that were designed and made in-house (blue green in the photo below). The new minivacuum chamber works in a similar way to some vacuum sealed food packages, with the sample being sandwiched between air-tight rubber sheets. The ‘X’ shaped part that you can see on the front of the mini-chamber makes it possible to have a hole in the top rubber sheet, allowing the laser beam to pass through, without causing any leaks. Researchers hope that this will be a step in the right direction to getting intact LIBT of 2D materials using the new laser system.