Surface plasmon resonance for characterization of large-area atomic-layer graphene film

Publication year: 2016
Authors: H. Jussila 1,*, H. Yang 1, N. Granqvist 2, Z. Sun 1

1 - Department of Micro- and Nanosciences, Aalto University, Tietotie 3, FI-00076 Espoo, Finland
2 - BioNavis Ltd, Tampere, Finland
*Corresponding author:

Published in: Optica, Vol. 3, Issue 2, p. 151-158
doi: 10.1364/OPTICA.3.000151

Characterization of large-area thin films with atomic-scale resolution is challenging but in great demand for diverse applications (e.g., nanotechnology and sensing). Here, we use the Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) method to characterize both the thickness and refractive index of chemical-vapor-deposition (CVD)-grown graphene films. The measured refractive index and extinction coefficient values of the CVD-grown graphene monolayer at 670 nm wavelength are 3.135 and 0.897, respectively. Our results demonstrate that SPR shifts generated by graphene films are large (i.e. ~ 1°/nm) almost tenfold larger than that observed in SPR measurements of organic monolayers. We find that this significantly large SPR shift easily enables the thickness of a large area sample (i.e. ~ mm²) to be determined with subnanometer-scale resolution. We show that the SPR method can identify thickness of different graphene layers and give an estimate of ~ 0,37 nm for the thickness of the CVD-grown graphene layer, which agrees extremely well with the 0.335 nm reported for layer-to-layer carbon atom distance of graphite crystals. Our results open the avenue to fast and cost-effective simultaneous characterization of various parameters (including thickness and optical constants) of thin films at the atomic-scale resolution. The presented characterization method can be applied both to physical characterizations of various two-dimensional layered materials as well as to the use of these layered materials for biosensing applications as shown earlier, due to the favorable properties of graphene plasmons.

MP-SPR keywords: CVD, graphene, multilayer, thin film