Surface modification of materials is critically important to a wide variety of applications, including surface passivation, epitaxial materials growth, and biological and chemical sensing. Functional surfaces and coatings are routinely prepared with molecular thickness, but the preparation and properties of these ultrathin surfaces generally depend heavily on their substrates. In contrast, graphene-based 2D materials provide a substrate-independent route to functional surfaces. Graphene's chemical versatility, its atom-scale thinness, and its facile application to any surface enable exquisite control over a wide range of surface properties and functionalities on arbitrary substrates.
This chapter reviews the state of the art of graphene-based surface engineering. Strategies for graphene functionalization and transfer are discussed, along with specific materials processing challenges and their potential solutions. Theoretical efforts to understand chemically modified graphene and guide experimental approaches are also examined. In addition, a number of examples are presented where graphene surface engineering is employed to solve specific materials problems.