Apart from the buzz generated by IBM’s paper in Science , graphene research continues apace. Here I will bring your attention to two sub-topics: graphene on boron nitride, and patterning of graphene.
Experimental research led by the LeRoy group at the University of Arizona has shown that graphene lays down nearly flat on boron nitride substrate. This is in contrast to the wrinkling that occurs when graphene is placed onto silicon dioxide. Consequently the electronic properties of graphene on BN are much closer to those properties for free-standing graphene, but the material is much more robust and therefore more accessible to experiment. [Nature Materials, also found at arXiv:1102.2642]
From the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience in Delft comes a report that multi-layer graphene can be sculpted by high-energy e-beam without defects. If one irradiates graphene at room temperature, one finds that the graphene rapidly converts to amorphous carbon. The Kavli Institute has discovered that raising the temperature to 600C allows the graphene to heal while being irradiated, so that patterning is possible. [arXiv:1102.0971]
Finally, work at the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge, shows that apparent scanning probe nanolithography on graphene may be deceptive. A voltage is applied between tip and substrate during contact mode scanning. One then inspects the sample in tapping mode, and finds indentations wherever the tip was dragged. However, it seems that current flow through the probe tip causes oxidation of the graphene substrate only if the current flowing through the tip drops to (near) zero. This current drop depends on setting the tip voltage high enough to drive the oxidation to completion. The authors do not report what atomic state the “pseudo-cut” (that is, indented) graphene remains in. [arXiv: 1102.2781]