Online Determination of Graphene Lattice Orientation Through Lateral Forces
© The Author(s). 2016
Received: 17 December 2015
Accepted: 8 July 2016
Published: 2 August 2016
Rapid progress in graphene engineering has called for a simple and effective method to determine the lattice orientation on graphene before tailoring graphene to the desired edge structures and shapes. In this work, a wavelet transform-based frequency identification method is developed to distinguish the lattice orientation of graphene. The lattice orientation is determined through the different distribution of the frequency power spectrum just from a single scan line. This method is proven both theoretically and experimentally to be useful and controllable. The results at the atomic scale show that the frequencies vary with the lattice orientation of graphene. Thus, an adjusted angle to the desired lattice orientation (zigzag or armchair) can easily be calculated based on the frequency obtained from the single scan line. Ultimately, these results will play a critical role in wafer-size graphene engineering and in the manufacturing of graphene-based nanodevices.
KeywordsGraphene Lattice orientation Manufacturing Frequency
Graphene has been known as the replacement for silicon due to its unique electronic, physical, and mechanical properties as well as its wide range of applications [1, 2]. Although graphene shows extraordinary performance in fast transistors [3–7], super-capacitor , and highly sensitive sensors [9–11], the absence of an energy bandgap is still a grand challenge for applications in semiconductor nanodevices. Fortunately, previous studies have shown that graphene nanoribbons can display metallic or semiconducting properties due to different edges (zigzag or armchair) with the bandgap tunable by the width [12–15].
To date, several different graphene patterning methods such as Catalytic Cutting Technique [16–19], SPM-based Electric Field Tailoring Technique [20–22], AFM Scratching Technique [23, 24], Photocatalytic Patterning Approach , and Energy Beam Cutting method [26–28] have been developed. But whatever the cutting technique is, one of the prerequisites for tailoring graphene into desired nanodevice is to know its original lattice orientation, based on which the desired geometry configuration can be designed. Moreover, recent progress has been made in making large area graphene, with the largest reports on 4-in. wafers (http://www.electronicsweekly.com/Articles/2010/02/03/47937/100mm-graphene-wafer-grown.htm). Therefore, it becomes absolutely necessary to develop a simple, fast, flexible, and controllable method to determine the lattice orientation (zigzag and armchair) of wafer-size graphene on various substrates before manufacturing. Recently, Sasaki et al. reported friction anisotropy on graphene studied by molecular mechanics simulation. It revealed the possibility of identifying the lattice orientation on graphene theoretically . Although AFM can image surface of material in atomic resolution [30, 31], the imaging conditions are very strict, especially in air under ambient conditions. The imaging process is easily affected by factors such as environment (including humidity, temperature, etc.) and probes. Additionally, the repeatability is very low. Even if the researchers who have rich atomic observation experiences, it also needs to take hours to obtain a stable and clear atomic resolution image.
In this paper, a wavelet transform-based frequency ratio identifying method is developed to determine the lattice orientation of graphene theoretically and experimentally. The uniqueness of the proposed method lies in using one or two friction scanning lines that can quickly distinguish graphene lattice orientation. Both theoretical and experimental results at the atomic scale have shown that the frequency ratio vary with the lattice orientation on graphene, based on which the lattice orientation on graphene can easily be distinguished. The findings in this paper will play a critical role in wafer-size graphene engineering and in the development of graphene-based nanodevices.
The friction measurements on graphene were performed with a Multimode AFM (now Bruker) in air under ambient conditions (43 to 47 % relative humidity, 23 to 26 °C). AFM probes with rectangular cantilevers were used with scan size 5 nm across. Its radius, length, width, height, and thickness are 10, 450, 50, 10, and 2 μm, respectively. The normal spring constant is 0.2 N/m. The scan rate has to be more 10 Hz. The total number of lines per image, which defines the pixel resolution of the image, was kept constant at 256. All images, except otherwise indicated, were flattened with a first-order line-wise correction fit. Graphene (Additional file 1: Figure S1) was prepared by using micromechanical cleavage of bulk graphite . Monolayer CVD graphene (Fig. 6) was transfer to an electrode chip by using bubbling transfer . The electrodes were fabricated by standard photolithography and lift-off techniques. The morphology and structure of monolayer CVD graphene were characterized using an optical microscope (KH-7700, Hirox Inc.), AFM (Veeco Dimension 3100, tapping mode). The wavelet transforms [33, 34] were used here to obtain frequency information and signal filtering. It was performed with Daubechies wavelet (db9). Four-step wavelet decomposition (see Additional file 1: Figure S3) is chosen.
Results and Discussion
Fiction measurements for different directions were performed by changing the scan angles (0°, 5°, 14°, 25°, 30°, 35°, 44°, 49°, and 55°, respectively. See Additional file 1: Figure S1). For the comparison of simulation and experiment results, the lattice angle 0° in experiments is defined as a zigzag orientation, which is in the anticlockwise direction nearest to the scanning direction. Thus 30° indicates an armchair orientation. The parameters used in the simulation were depicted in Additional file 1.
Rotation (30°-θ) by anticlockwise, and scan a single line to calculate δ.
If this δ shows the armchair direction, then the calculated θ (0° < θ < 30°) should be the real lattice angle.
Otherwise, the real lattice angle should be (60°-θ).
The properties of graphene strongly rely on its edge structures. However, there is no rapid way to determine the lattice orientation on graphene. A simple and controllable method is developed to distinguish the lattice orientation of graphene appropriately. The method proposed in the manuscript only needs one or two scan lines to obtain the frequency ratio based on wavelet transform. Both theoretical and experimental results at the atomic scale have shown that the frequency ratios vary with the lattice orientations on graphene. In addition, an adjusted angle to the desired lattice orientation can be easily calculated based on the frequency ratio and the distribution obtained in this work, ultimately providing the platform for graphene engineering and graphene based nanodevices. In the future, the effects of the structural complexities of graphene on frequencies will be investigated, such as local strain, defects, and puckering. Recently, some studies [37–41] have shown that the structural complexities of 2D materials strongly influence friction forces. Therefore, they will influence the frequency also. These effects will be systematically studied in the next step.
This work supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 61375107, 61175103), Bureau of International Cooperation, Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 17321KYSB20130006), Project supported by Science and Technology Development Project of Jilin Province, China (Grant No. 20160520098JH), Key Project of High Education and Scientific Research of Jinlin Province of China (Grant No. JGJX2015C55), the12th Five-Year Plan Project of Education and Sciences of Jinlin Province of China (Grant No. GH150554), and the CAS FEA International Partnership Program for Creative Research Teams.
YZ designed and performed the measurements, carried on the data analysis, and drafted the manuscript. FY, GL, and UCW participated in the revision of the manuscript and discussed the results. LL and NX participated in the monitoring the experimental work, data analysis, discussion, and revision of the manuscript. GL, ZZ, and YW helped to coordinate the experiments and revise the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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