The catalytic decomposition of hydrocarbons on transition-metal surfaces has attracted increasing interest as a method to prepare high quality graphene layers. Here, we study the optimal reaction path for the preparation of graphene nanoislands of selected shape using controlled decomposition of propene on Ni(111). Scanning tunneling microscopy performed at different stages of the reaction provides insight into the temperature and dose-dependent growth of graphene islands, which precedes the formation of monolayer graphene. The effect of postreaction annealing on the morphology of the islands is studied. By adjusting the initial propene dose, reaction temperature, and postannealing procedure, islands with a triangular or hexagonal shape can be selectively obtained. © 2012 American Chemical Society.
- scanning tunneling microscopy