Graphene/h-BN plasmon–phonon coupling and plasmon delocalization observed by infrared nano-spectroscopy

I. D. Barcelos, A. R. Cadore, L. C. Campos, A. Malachias, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, F. C. B. Maia, R. Freitas and C. Deneke

Nanoscale, 2015,7, 11620-11625 (2015)
We observed the coupling of graphene Dirac plasmons with different surfaces using scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy integrated into a mid-infrared synchrotron-based beamline. A systematic investigation of a graphene/hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) heterostructure is carried out and compared with the well-known graphene/SiO2 heterostructure. Broadband infrared scanning near-field optical microscopy imaging is able to distinguish between the graphene/h-BN and the graphene/SiO2 heterostructure as well as differentiate between graphene stacks with different numbers of layers. Based on synchrotron infrared nanospectroscopy experiments, we observe a coupling of surface plasmons of graphene and phonon polaritons of h-BN (SPPP). An enhancement of the optical band at 817 cm−1 is observed at graphene/h-BN heterostructures as a result of hybridization between graphene plasmons and longitudinal optical phonons of h-BN. Furthermore, longitudinal optical h-BN modes are preserved on suspended graphene regions (bubbles) where the graphene sheet is tens of nanometers away from the surface while the amplitude of transverse optical h-BN modes decrease.