Charged nano-domes and bubbles in epitaxial graphene

A. Ben Gouider Trabelsi, F. V. Kusmartsev, B. J. Robinson, A. Ouerghi, O. E. Kusmartseva, O. V. Kolosov, R. Mazzocco, Marat B. Gaifullin, M. Oueslati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


For the first time, new epitaxial graphene nano-structures resembling charged 'bubbles' and 'domes' are reported. A strong influence, arising from the change in morphology, on the graphene layer's electronic, mechanical and optical properties has been shown. The morphological properties of these structures have been studied with atomic force microscopy (AFM), ultrasonic force microscopy (UFM) and Raman spectroscopy. After initial optical microscopy observation of the graphene, a detailed description of the surface morphology, via AFM and nanomechanical UFM measurements, was obtained. Here, graphene nano-structures, domes and bubbles, ranging from a few tens of nanometres (150-200 nm) to a few μm in size have been identified. The AFM topographical and UFM stiffness data implied the freestanding nature of the graphene layer within the domes and bubbles, with heights on the order of 5-12 nm. Raman spectroscopy mappings of G and 2D bands and their ratio confirm not only the graphene composition of these structures but also the existence of step bunching, defect variations and the carrier density distribution. In particular, inside the bubbles and substrate there arises complex charge redistribution; in fact, the graphene bubble-substrate interface forms a charged capacitance. We have determined the strength of the electric field inside the bubble-substrate interface, which may lead to a minigap of the order of 5 meV opening for epitaxial graphene grown on 4H-SiC face-terminated carbon.

Original languageBritish English
Article number165704
Issue number16
StatePublished - 25 Apr 2014


  • bubbles
  • charge density distribution
  • domes
  • grapheme
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • UFM


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