Rational design and observation of the tight interface between graphene and ligand protected nanocrystals†
Heterostructures constructed of graphene and colloidal nanocrystals provide a unique way to exploit the coupled physical properties of the two functional building blocks. Studying the interface structure between the two constituent materials is important to understand the formation mechanism and the resulting physical and chemical properties. Along with ab initio calculations, we elucidate that the bending rigidity and the strong van der Waals interaction of graphene to the metal surface guide the formation of a tight and conformal interface. Using theoretical foundations, we construct colloidal nanocrystal–graphene heterostructures with controlled interfacial structures and directly investigate the cross-sectional structures of them at high resolution by using aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. The experimental method and observations we present here will link the empirical methods for the formation of nanocrystal–graphene heterostructures to the mechanistic understanding of their properties.