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Direct Visualization and Manipulation of Stacking Orders in Few-Layer Graphene by Dynamic Atomic Force Microscopy

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posted on 28.07.2021, 20:09 authored by Hongjian Wu, Xiaoxiang Yu, Mengjian Zhu, Zhihong Zhu, Jianyu Zhang, Sen Zhang, Shiqiao Qin, Guang Wang, Gang Peng, Jiayu Dai, Kostya S. Novoselov
Stacking order plays a central role in governing a wide range of properties in layered two-dimensional materials. In the case of few-layer graphene, there are two common stacking configurations: ABA and ABC stacking, which have been proven to exhibit dramatically different electronic properties. However, the controllable characterization and manipulation between them remain a great challenge. Here, we report that ABA- and ABC-stacked domains can be directly visualized in phase imaging by tapping-mode atomic force microscopy with much higher spatial resolution than conventional optical spectroscopy. The contrasting phase is caused by the different energy dissipation by the tip–sample interaction. We further demonstrate controllable manipulation on the ABA/ABC domain walls by means of propagating stress transverse waves generated by the tapping of tip. Our results offer a reliable strategy for direct imaging and precise control of the atomic structures in few-layer graphene, which can be extended to other two-dimensional materials.

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