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Imaging the interface of epitaxial graphene with silicon carbide via scanning tunneling microscopy



Gregory M. Rutter, N Guisinger, Jason Crain, Emily Jarvis, Mark D. Stiles, T Li, P First, Joseph A. Stroscio


The potential for electronics based on graphene, a single layer of sp2-bonded carbon atoms, rests on the ability to fabricate graphene into useful devices. Graphene grown epitaxially on SiC substrates offers an avenue for carbon-based electronics allowing for large area fabrication of carbon structures, patterning with standard lithographic procedures, and potential integration with current Si technology 1,2. A major obstacle to this approach is a lack of understanding of the role that the SiC interface plays in determining the electronic properties and charge transport in the graphene/SiC system. In this letter, we image the interface structure beneath the first graphene layer on the SiC substrate using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) at a series of bias voltages. Such imaging is possible because the first layer of graphene becomes semi-transparent at energies of 1 eV above or below the Fermi-energy, yielding images of the SiC interface. Our analysis of calculations based on density functional theory shows how this transparency arises from the electronic structure of a graphene layer on the SiC substrate.
Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics)




Rutter, G. , Guisinger, N. , Crain, J. , Jarvis, E. , Stiles, M. , Li, T. , First, P. and Stroscio, J. (2007), Imaging the interface of epitaxial graphene with silicon carbide via scanning tunneling microscopy, Physical Review B (Condensed Matter and Materials Physics), [online], (Accessed May 25, 2022)
Created December 14, 2007, Updated February 19, 2017