Nano-infrared imaging of epitaxial graphene on SiC revealing doping and thickness inhomogeneities

M. Fralaide, Y. Chi, R. B. Iyer, Y. Luan, S. Chen, R. Shinar, J. Shinar, M. Kolmer, M. C. Tringides and Z. Fei

Applied Physics Letters 124, 123103 (2024)
We report on a nano-infrared (IR) imaging and spectroscopy study of epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide (SiC) by using scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (s-SNOM). With nano-IR imaging, we reveal in real space microscopic domains with distinct IR contrasts. By analyzing the nano-IR, atomic force microscopy, and scanning tunneling microscopy imaging data, we conclude that the imaged domains correspond to single-layer graphene, bilayer graphene (BLG), and higher-doped BLG. With nano-IR spectroscopy, we find that graphene can screen the SiC phonon resonance, and the screening is stronger at more conductive sample regions. Our work offers insights into the rich surface properties of epitaxial graphene and demonstrates s-SNOM as an efficient and effective tool in characterizing graphene and possibly other two-dimensional materials.