Atomic force microscopy phase imaging of epitaxial graphene films

Francesco Lavini, Filippo Cellini, Martin Rejhon, Jan Kunc, Claire Berger, Walt de Heer, Elisa Riedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dynamic mode atomic force microscopy phase imaging is known to produce distinct contrast between graphene areas of different atomic thickness. But the intrinsic complexity of the processes controlling the tip motion and the phase angle shift excludes its use as an independent technique for a quantitative type of analysis. By investigating the relationship between the phase shift, the tip-surface interaction, and the thickness of the epitaxial graphene areas grown on silicon carbide, we shed light on the origin of such phase contrast, and on the complex energy dissipation processes underlying phase imaging. In particular, we study the behavior of phase shift and energy dissipation when imaging the interfacial buffer layer, single-layer, and bilayer graphene regions as a function of the tip-surface separation and the interaction forces. Finally, we compare these results with those obtained on differently-grown quasi free standing single- and bilayer graphene samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number024005
JournalJPhys Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • AFM phase imaging
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Epitaxial graphene
  • Friction
  • Graphene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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