Nitrogen doping for facile and effective modification of graphene surfaces
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We report experimental and theoretical investigations of nitrogen doped graphene. A low-pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) system was used to grow large-area graphene on copper foil, using ethylene as the carbon source. Nitrogen-doped graphene (N-graphene) was prepared by exposing the graphene transferred to different substrates to atomic nitrogen plasma. The effect of varying nitrogen flow rates on doping of graphene was investigated while keeping the power and time constant during the process. The N-graphene was characterized via Raman Spectroscopy, X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Scanning Tunneling Microscopy and Spectroscopy (STM and STS), and Fourier Transform Infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). Raman mapping of N-graphene was also performed to show homogeneity of nitrogen on the graphitic lattice. XPS results have revealed the presence of different nitrogen configurations in the graphitic lattice with similar doping concentrations. Density functional theory (DFT) based calculations showed that the periodic adsorption of N atoms predominantly occurs on top of the C atoms rather than through substitution of C in our N-graphene samples. Our results indicate a feasible procedure for producing N-graphene with homogenous and effective doping which would be valuable in electronic and optical applications.