Characterization of SiC-grown epitaxial graphene microislands using tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy†
Single-layer graphene microislands with smooth edges and no visible grain boundary were epitaxially grown on the C-face of 4H-SiC and then characterized at the nanoscale using tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS). Although these graphene islands appear highly homogeneous in micro-Raman imaging, TERS reveals the nanoscale strain variation caused by ridge nanostructures. A G′ band position shift up to 9 cm−1 and a band broadening up to 30 cm−1 are found in TERS spectra obtained from nanoridges, which is explained by the compressive strain relaxation mechanism. The small size and refined nature of the graphene islands help in minimizing the inhomogeneity caused by macroscale factors, and allow a comparative discussion of proposed mechanisms of nanoridge formation.