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Title: Atomic intercalation to measure adhesion of graphene on graphite

The interest in mechanical properties of layered and 2D materials has reemerged in light of device concepts that take advantage of flexing, adhesion and friction in such systems. Here we provide an effective measurement of the nanoscale elastic adhesion of a graphene sheet atop highly ordered pyrolytic graphite (HOPG) based on the analysis of atomic intercalates in graphite. Atomic intercalation is carried out using conventional ion sputtering, creating blisters in the top-most layer of the HOPG surface. Scanning tunneling microscopy coupled with image analysis and density functional theory are used to reconstruct the atomic positions and the strain map within the deformed graphene sheet, as well as to demonstrate subsurface diffusion of the ions creating such blisters. To estimate the adhesion energy we invoke an analytical model originally devised for macroscopic deformations of graphene. This model yields a value of 0.221 ± 0.011 J/m -2 for the adhesion energy of graphite, which is in surprisingly good agreement with reported experimental and theoretical values. This implies that macroscopic mechanical properties of graphene scale down to at least a few nanometers length. The simplicity of our method, compared to the macroscale characterization, enables analysis of elastic mechanical properties in two-dimensional layered materialsmore » and provides a unique opportunity to investigate the local variability of mechanical properties on the nanoscale.« less
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  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Science (CNMS)
  2. National Energy Technology Lab. (NETL), Albany, OR (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences (CNMS)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
OSTI Identifier: