Single layer behavior in multilayer epitaxial graphene has been a matter of intense investigation. This is due to the layer decoupling that occurs during growth of graphene on some types of substrates, such as carbon-terminated silicon carbide. We show here that near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy can be used to observe the signature of this decoupling. To this end, samples of multilayer graphene from silicon carbide sublimation were grown with different degrees of decoupling. Raman spectroscopy was used to infer the degree of structural decoupling. X-ray grazing-incidence diffraction and scanning tunneling microscopy showed that growth initiates with the presence of bilayer graphene commensurate structures, while layer decoupling is associated to the formation of incommensurate structures observed for longer sublimation time. Near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy was used to probe the electronic states above the Fermi energy. Besides the σ* and π* empty states, image potential states are observed and show a clear change of intensity as a function of incident angle. These image potential states evolve from a graphite- to graphene-like behavior as a function of growth time and can be used to infer the degree of structural coupling among layers.
In this paper, we address the challenge of identifying grain boundaries on the molybdenum disulphide (MoS 2 ) surface at the nanometre scale using a simple self-assembled monolayer (SAM) decoration method. Combined with atomic force microscopy, octadecylphosphonic acid monolayers readily reveal grain boundaries in MoS 2 at ambient conditions, without the need of atomic resolution measurements under vacuum. Additional ab initio calculations allow us to obtain the preferred orientation of the SAM structure relative to the MoS 2 beneath, and therefore, together with the experiments, the MoS 2 crystalline orientations at the grain boundaries. The proposed method enables the visualization of grain boundaries with sub-micrometer resolution for nanodevice investigation and failure analysis.