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Nano Lett. 2009 Dec;9(12):4446-51. doi: 10.1021/nl902729p.

Scanning tunneling microscopy characterization of the electrical properties of wrinkles in exfoliated graphene monolayers.

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  • 1Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Kavli Nanoscience Institute, California Institute of Technology, MC 127-72, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


We report on the scanning tunneling microscopy study of a new class of corrugations in exfoliated monolayer graphene sheets, that is, wrinkles approximately 10 nm in width and approximately 3 nm in height. We found such corrugations to be ubiquitous in graphene and have distinctly different properties when compared to other regions of graphene. In particular, a "three-for-six" triangular pattern of atoms is exclusively and consistently observed on wrinkles, suggesting the local curvature of the wrinkle provides a sufficient perturbation to break the 6-fold symmetry of the graphene lattice. Through scanning tunneling spectroscopy, we further demonstrate that the wrinkles have lower electrical conductance and are characterized by the presence of midgap states, which is in agreement with recent theoretical predictions. The observed wrinkles are likely important for understanding the electrical properties of graphene.

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