Recognizing nitrogen dopant atoms in graphene using atomic force microscopy

Nadine J. van der Heijden, Daniel Smith, Gaetano Calogero, Rik S. Koster, Daniel Vanmaekelbergh, Marijn A. van Huis, Ingmar Swart

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    Doping graphene by heteroatoms such as nitrogen presents an attractive route to control the position of the Fermi level in the material. We prepared N-doped graphene on Cu(111) and Ir(111) surfaces via chemical vapor deposition of two different molecules. Using scanning tunneling microscopy images as a benchmark, we show that the position of the dopant atoms can be determined using atomic force microscopy. Specifically, the frequency shift-distance curves Delta f(z) acquired above a N atom are significantly different from the curves measured over a C atom. Similar behavior was found for N-doped graphene on Cu(111) and Ir(111). The results are corroborated by density functional theory calculations employing a van der Waals functional.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number245430
    JournalPhysical Review B
    Issue number24
    Number of pages9
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • Solid surface structure
    • Doping and implantation of impurities
    • Chemical vapour deposition
    • Density functional theory, local density approximation (condensed matter electronic structure)
    • Preparation of graphene and graphene-related materials, intercalation compounds, and diamond
    • Electronic structure of graphene and graphene-related materials (thin films, low dimensional and nanoscale structures)
    • atomic force microscopy
    • chemical vapour deposition
    • density functional theory
    • doping
    • Fermi level
    • graphene
    • nitrogen
    • scanning tunnelling microscopy
    • van der Waals functional
    • frequency shift–distance curves
    • benchmark
    • scanning tunneling microscopy images
    • chemical vapor deposition
    • N-doped graphene
    • heteroatoms
    • nitrogen dopant atoms

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