Friction force microscopy: a simple technique for identifying graphene on rough substrates and mapping the orientation of graphene grains on copper

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Marsden, Alexander J. ; Phillips, Mick ; Wilson, Neil R. (2013)

At a single atom thick, it is challenging to distinguish graphene from its substrate using conventional techniques. In this paper we show that friction force microscopy (FFM) is a simple and quick technique for identifying graphene on a range of samples, from growth substrates to rough insulators. We show that FFM is particularly effective for characterizing graphene grown on copper where it can correlate the graphene growth to the three-dimensional surface topography. Atomic lattice stick–slip friction is readily resolved and enables the crystallographic orientation of the graphene to be mapped nondestructively, reproducibly and at high resolution. We expect FFM to be similarly effective for studying graphene growth on other metal/locally crystalline substrates, including SiC, and for studying growth of other two-dimensional materials such as molybdenum disulfide and hexagonal boron nitride.
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