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Probing heat flow in large graphene bubbles

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Schematic of graphene bubble on ‘interference substrate’ with optical standing wave. The red spot indicates where the bubble gets heated most.

The highly elastic and flexible nature of graphene allows the creation of stable large bubbles on its surface (several micrometers wide and one micrometer high) in a more or less controlled fashion. Such bubbles might serve as micro-lenses or be used to control the morphology of graphene on surfaces or to chemically functionalize graphene on selected regions. When graphene is illuminated with a laser beam, incident and reflected beams overlap forming an optical standing wave on the surface. While the large graphene bubble is not disturbed much by the standing wave, increasing the laser power has the effect of selectively heating the graphene bubble at the interference maxima of the standing optical wave. Such local changes in temperature can be detected by following the spectral shifts in the vibrational spectrum of graphene, where oscillations in shift and intensity of a spectral peak are recorded when scanning the laser spot across the graphene bubble.

Collaboration with R. Ruoff, Unist