Graphene flakes obtained by local electro-exfoliation of graphite with a STM tip

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Title: Graphene flakes obtained by local electro-exfoliation of graphite with a STM tip
Authors: Rubio-Verdú, Carmen | Sáenz Arce, Giovanni | Martínez Asencio, Jesús | Costa Milán, David | Moaied, Mohammed | Palacios Burgos, Juan José | Caturla, Maria J. | Untiedt, Carlos
Research Group/s: Grupo de Nanofísica | Física de la Materia Condensada
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Física Aplicada
Keywords: Graphene flakes | Electro-exfoliation | Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) | Graphite
Knowledge Area: Física Aplicada | Física de la Materia Condensada
Issue Date: 24-Feb-2017
Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry
Citation: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 2017, 19: 8061-8068. doi:10.1039/C6CP07236D
Abstract: Graphite surfaces can be manipulated by several methods to create graphene structures of different shapes and sizes. Scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) can be used to create these structures either through mechanical contact between the tip and the surface or through electro-exfoliation. In the latter, the mechanisms involved in the process of exfoliation at an applied voltage are not fully understood. Here, we show how a graphite surface can be locally exfoliated in a systematic manner by applying an electrostatic force with a STM tip at the edge of a terrace, forming triangular flakes several nanometers in length. We demonstrate, through experiments and simulations, how these flakes are created by a two-step process: first a voltage ramp must be applied at the edge of the terrace, and then the tip must be scanned perpendicular to the edge. Ab initio electrostatic calculations reveal that the presence of charges on the graphite surface weakens the interaction between layers allowing for exfoliation at voltages in the same range as those used experimentally. Molecular dynamics simulations show that a force applied locally on the edge of a step produces triangular flakes such as those observed under STM. Our results provide new insights into surface modification that can be extended to other layered materials.
Sponsor: GSA acknowledges the support of the CONICIT Costa Rica and Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica. This work was supported by the Generalitat Valenciana through grant references PROMETEO2012/011 and FPA/2013/A/081 and the Spanish government MINECO through grants FIS2010-21883, FIS2013-47328, MAT2016-78625-C2-1-P. JJP acknowledges financial support through the “María de Maeztu” Programme for Units of Excellence in R&D (MDM-2014-0377) and grant FIS2016-80434 from MINECO, the European Union structural funds and the Comunidad de Madrid under grant MAD2D no. S2013/MIT-3007.
ISSN: 1463-9076 (Print) | 1463-9084 (Online)
DOI: 10.1039/C6CP07236D
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © the Owner Societies 2017
Peer Review: si
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Appears in Collections:INV - Grupo de Nanofísica - Artículos de Revistas
INV - Física de la Materia Condensada - Artículos de Revistas

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