Low-temperature (~1073 K) formation of graphene was performed on Si substrates by using an ultrathin (2 nm) Ni layer deposited on a 3C-SiC thin film heteroepitaxially grown on a Si substrate. Angle-resolved, synchrotron-radiation X-ray photoemission spectroscopy (SR-XPS) results show that the stacking order is, from the surface to the bulk, Ni carbides(Ni3C/NiCx)/graphene/Ni/Ni silicides (Ni2Si/NiSi)/3C-SiC/Si. In situ SR-XPS during the graphitization annealing clarified that graphene is formed during the cooling stage. We conclude that Ni silicide and Ni carbide formation play an essential role in the formation of graphene.
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