(Invited) Probing Metal-Graphene Interactions with Raman Spectroscopy

Wednesday, October 14, 2015: 09:50
105-C (Phoenix Convention Center)
G. Cheng, I. Calizo (Florida International University), and A. R. Hight Walker (National Institute of Standards and Technology)
Metal-graphene interactions play important roles in the fields of catalysis and electronics. In this talk, we demonstrate that Raman spectroscopy is a powerful tool to probe these interactions and will present two specific cases. First, we investigate the Fe-catalyzed etching of graphene layers in forming gas. Fe thin films are deposited by sputtering onto mechanically exfoliated graphene, few-layer graphene (FLG), and graphite flakes on a Si/SiO2 substrate. When the sample is rapidly annealed in forming gas, particles are produced due to the dewetting of the Fe thin film and those particles catalyze the etching of graphene layers. The microscopic and Raman spectroscopic evidence reveals that monolayer and FLG regions are severely damaged and that the particles catalytically etch channels in graphite. No etching is observed on graphite for the Fe thin film annealed in nitrogen. The critical role of hydrogen indicates that this graphite etching process is catalyzed by Fe particles through the carbon hydrogenation reaction. By comparing with the etched monolayer and FLG observed for the Fe film annealed in nitrogen, our Raman spectroscopy measurements identify that, in forming gas, the catalytic etching of monolayer and FLG is through carbon hydrogenation. During carbon hydrogenation, Fe particles are catalytically active in the dissociation of hydrogen into hydrogen atoms and in the production of hydrogenated amorphous carbon through hydrogen spillover. In the second case, we deposit a Ni thin film by thermal evaporation onto mechanically exfoliated graphene, FLG, and graphite, and probe the Ni-graphene interface using Raman spectroscopy. When the sample is annealed in forming gas, a Ni(111) thin film is produced on graphene, FLG, and graphite. We observe the disappearance of Raman signals from graphene underneath Ni(111) when using  low laser power and the re-appearance of the Raman signals from the graphene with a higher power excitation laser. This work provides direct experimental evidence for the strong interaction between Ni(111) and graphene and confirms the result from the theoretical simulations that this strong interaction suppresses the Kohn anomaly in graphene.