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The Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM) is an institute of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) (Spanish National Research Council) founded in December 1986, that belongs to the Area of Science and Technology of Materials, one of the eight Areas in which the CSIC divides its research activities.


Our mission is to create new fundamental and applied knowledge in materials of high technological impact, their processing and their transfer to the productive sectors at local, national and European scales (the true value of materials is in their use), the training of new professionals, and the dissemination of the scientific knowledge.

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Forthcoming Events


Super-Planckian Radiative Heat Transfer
Juan Carlos Cuevas   read more


Nonlocal Soft Plasmonics: Charged fluids in classical nanophotonics and beyond
Christin David  read more


2018 Nobel Prize in Physics: Electrodynamic Forces and Optical Tweezers. Its relevance in Biosciences
Manuel Nieto Vesperinas, ICMM-CSIC and Ricardo Arias, IMDEA Nanociencia  read more

Size-Selective Carbon Clusters as Obstacles to Graphene Growth on a Metal

Alexandre Artaud, Laurence Magaud, Kitti Ratter, Bruno Gilles, Valérie Guisset, Philippe David, Jose Ignacio Martinez, Jose Angel Martin-Gago, Claude Chapelier, and Johann Coraux

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) on metals is so far the best suited method to produce high-quality, large-area graphene. We discovered an unprecedentedly large family of small size-selective carbon clusters that form together with graphene during CVD. Using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and density functional theory (DFT), we unambiguously determine their atomic structure. For that purpose, we use grids based on a graphene moiré and a dilute atomic lattice that unambiguously reveal the binding geometry of the clusters. We find that the observed clusters bind in metastable configurations on the substrate, while the thermodynamically stable configurations are not observed. We argue that the clusters are formed under kinetic control and establish that the evolution of the smallest clusters is blocked. They are hence products of surface reactions in competition with graphene growth, rather than intermediary species to the formation of extended graphene, as often assumed in the literature. We expect such obstacles to the synthesis of perfect graphene to be ubiquitous on a variety of metallic surfaces.

Nano Lett. 2018

Nature Nanotechnology

ICMM-2018 - Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, 3, Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain. Tel: +34 91 334 9000. info@icmm.csic.es