Graphene's sensitivity to adsorbed particles has attracted widespread attention because of its potential sensor applications. Size-selected few-atom clusters are promising candidates as adparticles to graphene. Due to their small size, physicochemical properties are dominated by quantum size effects. In particular, few-atom gold clusters demonstrate a significant catalytic activity in various oxidation reactions. In this joint experimental and computational work, size-selected gold clusters with 3 and 6 atoms adsorbed on graphene field-effect transistors and their interaction with molecular oxygen are investigated. While oxygen adsorbs at both cluster sizes, there is a pronounced cluster size dependence in the corresponding doping, as demonstrated via first-principle calculations and electronic transport measurements. Furthermore, the doping of gold cluster decorated graphene changes sign from n- to p-doping upon oxygen adsorption, directly evidencing electron transfer to the oxygen molecules and hence their activation. These observations pinpoint graphene as a valuable platform to investigate and exploit size-dependent cluster properties.
- density functional theory
- few-atom gold cluster
- field-effect transistor
- oxygen adsorption and activation