Epitaxial graphene growth on SiC surfaces is considered advantageous in terms of device application. However, the first graphitic layer on SiC transforms to a buffer layer because of strong coupling with the substrate. The properties of several subsequent layers are also significantly degraded. One method to decouple graphene from the substrate is Si intercalation. In the present work, we report observation and analysis of interface structures formed by Si intercalation in between the graphene layer and the SiC(0001) surface depending on Si coverage and influence of these interfaces on graphene electronic structure by means of low-energy electron diffraction (LEED), scanning tunneling microscopy (STM), angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES), and theoretical first-principles calculations. The STM appearance of observed periodic interface structures strongly resembles previously known Si-rich phases on the SiC(0001) surface. Based on the observed range of interface structures we discuss the mechanism of graphene layer decoupling and differences in stability of the Si-rich phases on clean SiC(0001) and in the graphene/SiC(0001) interface region. We also discuss a possibility to tune graphene electronic properties by interface engineering.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics