To improve graphene-based multifunctional devices at nanoscale, a stepwise and controllable fabrication procedure must be elucidated. Here, a series of structural transition of bismuth (Bi) adatoms, adsorbed on monolayer epitaxial graphene (MEG), is explored at room temperature. Bi adatoms undergo a structural transition from one-dimensional (1D) linear structures to two-dimensional (2D) triangular islands and such 2D growth mode is affected by the corrugated substrate. Upon Bi deposition, a little charge transfer occurs and a characteristic peak can be observed in the tunneling spectrum, reflecting the distinctive electronic structure of the Bi adatoms. When annealed to ∼500K, 2D triangular Bi islands aggregate into Bi nanoclusters (NCs) of uniform size. A well-controlled fabrication method is thus demonstrated. The approaches adopted herein provide perspectives for fabricating and characterizing periodic networks on MEG and related systems, which are useful in realizing graphene-based electronic, energy, sensor and spintronic devices.
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