Breakdown of Universal Scaling for Nanometer-Sized Bubbles in Graphene

R Villarreal and PC Lin and F Faraji and N Hassani and H Bana and Z Zarkua and MN Nair and HC Tsai and M Auge and F Junge and HC Hofsaess and S De Gendt and S De Feyter and S Brems and EH Ahlgren and EC Neyts and L Covaci and FM Peeters and M Neek-Amal and LMC Pereira, NANO LETTERS, 21, 8103-8110 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c02470

We report the formation of nanobubbles on graphene with a radius of the order of 1 nm, using ultralow energy implantation of noble gas ions (He, Ne, Ar) into graphene grown on a Pt(111) surface. We show that the universal scaling of the aspect ratio, which has previously been established for larger bubbles, breaks down when the bubble radius approaches 1 nm, resulting in much larger aspect ratios. Moreover, we observe that the bubble stability and aspect ratio depend on the substrate onto which the graphene is grown (bubbles are stable for Pt but not for Cu) and trapped element. We interpret these dependencies in terms of the atomic compressibility of the noble gas as well as of the adhesion energies between graphene, the substrate, and trapped atoms.

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