We demonstrate that dark-field (DF) optical microscopy is a powerful tool to visualize grain boundaries (GBs) and grain structure of graphene grown by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). Copper oxide nanoparticles sparsely formed along the graphene GBs by postgrowth mild oxidation allow one to determine the position and structure of the GBs by the DF microscope. As DF imaging offers a much higher sensitivity than bright-field (BF) microscopy, some GBs were observed even without the postgrowth oxidation. We found that periodic Cu steps formed below graphene can be also used to visualize the grain structure of the as-grown graphene by DF microscopy. Moreover, DF imaging is applicable to study of the gas barrier property of CVD graphene. Interestingly, the dissolved oxygen inside Cu foil enhanced oxidation of the Cu surface below graphene in spite of the fact that the graphene protects the underlying Cu from the exterior gas. Our work highlights the wide availability of DF optical microscopy in characterizing graphene and related two-dimensional materials grown on metal substrates.
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