Strong Interplay between the Electron Spin Lifetime in Chemically Synthesized Graphene Multilayers and Surface-Bound Oxygen
The electron spin lifetime in an assembly of chemically synthesized graphene sheets was found to be extremely sensitive to oxygen. Introducing small concentrations of physisorbed O-2 onto the graphene surface reduced the exceptionally long 140 ns electron spin lifetime by an order of magnitude. This effect was completely reversible: Removing the O-2 by using a dynamic vacuum restored the spin lifetime. The presence of covalently bound oxygen also decreased the electron spin lifetime in graphene, although to a far lesser extent compared to physisorbed O-2. The conduction electrons in graphene were found to play a significant role by counter-balancing the spin depolarization caused by oxygen molecules. Our results highlight the importance of chemical environment control and device packing in practical graphene-based spintronic applications.