Potential of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy for discrimination of nano-sized carbon materials. Insights on the optical characterization of graphene
J. Serrano, L.M. Cabalín, J. Moros, J.J. Laserna, Spectrochimica Acta, Part B, 2014, 97, 105 – 112
Since its invention in 2004, graphene has attracted considerable interest worldwide. Advances in the use of graphene in materials science and engineering require important increases in the quality of the final product for integration in photonic and electronic devices. To meet this demand, which will become increasingly strict in the future, analytical techniques capable of differentiating between the starting materials and graphene need to be developed. The interest in the use of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) for this application rests on the rapid progress experienced by this technology for identification of carbon-based materials of close chemical composition. The potential of LIBS has been explored here by a careful investigation of the spectral properties of both multi-layer and few-layer graphene, graphite and graphene oxide. Results reveal significant differences in the specific optical emission responses of these materials, expressly reflected on the behavior of CN and C2 molecular emissions. These differences result from the particularities of the materials, such as the number of carbon layers and the carbon hybridization in the bonding structure, together with the post-ablation evolution of the concerned plasma plume. In short, this interconnection between ablation and emission events generated from each material allows its characterization and its differentiation from other materials with highly similar chemical composition.