Strongly Absorbing Nanoscale Infrared Domains within Strained Bubbles at hBN-Graphene Interfaces

Tom Vincent, Matthew Hamer, Irina Grigorieva, Vladimir Antonov, Alexander Tzalenchuk, Olga Kazakova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Graphene has great potential for use in infrared (IR) nanodevices. At these length scales, nanoscale features, and their interaction with light, can be expected to play a significant role in device performance. Bubbles in van der Waals heterostructures are one such feature, which have recently attracted considerable attention, thanks to their ability to modify the optoelectronic properties of two-dimensional (2D) materials through strain. Here, we use scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy (sSNOM) to measure the nanoscale IR response from a network of variously shaped bubbles in hexagonal boron nitride (hBN)-encapsulated graphene. We show that within individual bubbles there are distinct domains with strongly enhanced IR absorption. The IR domain boundaries coincide with ridges in the bubbles, which leads us to attribute them to nanoscale strain domains. We further validate the strain distribution in the graphene by means of confocal Raman microscopy and vector decomposition analysis. This shows intricate and varied strain configurations, in which bubbles of different shape induce more bi- or uniaxial strain configurations. This reveals pathways toward future strain-based graphene IR devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57638-57648
Number of pages11
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number51
Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2020


  • absorption
  • bubbles
  • graphene
  • infrared
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • SNOM
  • strain


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