Linking interlayer twist angle to geometrical parameters of self-assembled folded graphene structures

11 Apr 2019  ·  Rode Johannes C., Zhai Dawei, Belke Christopher, Hong Sung J., Schmidt Hennrik, Sandler Nancy, Haug Rolf J. ·

Thin adhesive films can be removed from substrates, torn, and folded in distinct geometries under external driving forces. In two-dimensional materials, however, these processes can be self-driven as shown in previous studies on folded twisted bilayer graphene nanoribbons produced by spontaneous tearing and peeling from a substrate... Here, we use atomic force microscopy techniques to generate and characterize the geometrical structure of naturally self-grown folded nanoribbon structures. Measurements of nanoribbon width and interlayer separation reveal similar twist-angle dependences possibly caused by the anisotropy in the bilayer potential. In addition, analysis of the data shows an unexpected correlation between the height of the folded arc edge -parameterized by a radius R-, and the ribbon width, suggestive of a self-growth process driven by a variable cross-sectional shape. These observations are well described by an energy minimization model that includes the bilayer adhesion energy density as represented by a distance dependent Morse potential. We obtain an analytical expression for the radius R versus the ribbon width that predicts a renormalized bending rigidity and stands in good agreement with experimental observations. The newly found relation between these geometrical parameters suggests a mechanism for tailored growth of folded twisted bilayer graphene -- a platform for many intriguing physics phenomena. read more

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Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics Materials Science