Graphene on Ni(111): Electronic Corrugation and Dynamics from Helium Atom Scattering

Research paper by Anton Tamtögl, Emanuel Bahn, Jianding Zhu, Peter Fouquet, John Ellis, William Allison

Indexed on: 06 Nov '15Published on: 22 Oct '15Published in: Journal of Physical Chemistry C


Using helium atom scattering, we have studied the structure and dynamics of a graphene layer prepared in situ on a Ni(111) surface. Graphene/Ni(111) exhibits a helium reflectivity of ∼20% for a thermal helium atom beam and a particularly small surface electron density corrugation ((0.06 ± 0.02) Å peak to peak height). The Debye–Waller attenuation of the elastic diffraction peaks of graphene/Ni(111) and Ni(111) was measured at surface temperatures between 150 and 740 K. A surface Debye temperature of θD = (784 ± 14) K is determined for the graphene/Ni(111) system and θD = (388 ± 7) K for Ni(111), suggesting that the interlayer interaction between graphene and the Ni substrate is intermediary between those for strongly interacting systems like graphene/Ru(0001) and weakly interacting systems like graphene/Pt(111). In addition we present measurements of low frequency surface phonon modes on graphene/Ni(111) where the phonon modes of the Ni(111) substrate can be clearly observed. The similarity of these findings with the graphene/Ru(0001) system indicates that the bonding of graphene to a metal substrate alters the dynamic properties of the graphene surface strongly and is responsible for the high helium reflectivity of these systems.

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