Chemical vapor deposition (CVD) is currently the only method for large-scale synthesis of graphene. However, the CVD process introduces grain boundaries (GBs) when individual grains coalesce with various mismatch angles. These GBs contain atomic dislocations and defects, which are believed to alter graphene's mechanical, electrical, and thermal properties. Specifically, the GBs can act as “potential barriers” when charges move from one grain to neighboring grains. This barrier effect will not only change the electrical conductivity but also the thermal conductivity of graphene. Besides high-resolution, 3-dimensional topography images, Atomic force microscopy (AFM) can also obtain the electrical properties at the nanoscale. In this report, the potential barrier effect of graphene GBs is studied with AFM. During the experiment, the probe is brought into contact with the graphene while positively (or negatively) biased. This process injects net charges into the graphene. The electrostatic potential across the GBs can be measured by AFM as an indication of the potential barrier effect. GBs with lower potential difference correspond to lower potential barrier, and vice versa. The dependency of the barrier effect on the mismatch angles was also measured. Considering the 6 folds’ symmetry of graphene atomic lattice, the mismatch angle is in the range of 0° ∼ 30°, with 30° the maximum mismatch angle. Our results can be well fitted with a sinusoidal function with π/3 period, which supports our hypothesis that higher mismatch angle contains higher density of dislocations and defects that increase the potential barrier of GBs.

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