Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory have uncovered a previously unrecognized analytical characterization criterion that accurately quantifies the quality of 2D materials. Specifically, they analyzed graphene using low energy electron diffraction. Normally the diffraction results are expected to be sharp and clear peaks that represent the perfection of the material; however, the graphene results also included a broad diffusion band in addition to the aforementioned peaks. While the cause for this broad diffusion band’s presence is not yet fully understood, the scientists at Ames Laboratory theorize that it is due to the confinement of graphene electrons into a single layer of atoms. The scientists concluded that the presence of this broad diffusion band is indicative of high-quality graphene. Now that this analytical phenomenon has been properly recognized for graphene, it can be utilized to measure the structural perfection of other 2D materials as well.
Diffraction pattern of graphene that shows both peaks and broad diffusion band. Source: Ames Laboratory.
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