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Broad background in electron diffraction of 2D materials as a signature of their superior quality

, , , Patricia A Thiel, Michael C Tringides
Published: 7 September 2021

Abstract: An unusually broad bell-shaped component (BSC) has been previously observed in surface electron diffraction on different types of 2D systems. It was suggested to be an indicator of uniformity of epitaxial graphene (Gr) and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). In the current study we use low-energy electron microscopy and micro-diffraction to directly relate the BSC to the crystal quality of the diffracting 2D material. Specially designed lateral heterostructures were used to map the spatial evolution of the diffraction profile across different 2D materials, namely pure hBN, BCN alloy and pure Gr, where the alloy region exhibits deteriorated structural coherency. The presented results show that the BSC intensity has a minimum in the alloyed region, consequently showing that BSC is sensitive to the lateral domain size and homogeneity of the material under examination. This is further confirmed by the presence of a larger number of sharp moiré spots when the BSC is most pronounced in the pure hBN and Gr regions. Consequently, it is proposed that the BSC can be used as a diagnostics tool for determining the quality of the 2D materials.
Keywords: evolution / BSC / 2D materials / graphene / structural / lateral / hBN / quality

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