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An easy way to see the world's thinnest material
Date:12/23/2009

ects of interest light up under a fluorescence microscope. But such a technique doesn't work for graphene materials because of a mechanism called fluorescence quenching: they can "turn off" the fluorescence of nearby dye molecules.

"So we thought, how about we just put dye everywhere?" Huang says. "That way, the whole background lights up, and wherever you have graphene will be dark. It's an inverse strategy that turns out to work beautifully."

When Huang and his group coated a graphene sample with fluorescein and put it under a fluorescence microscope a much cheaper, readily available instrument they obtained images as clear as those acquired with AFM and SEM.

The team named their new technique fluorescence quenching microscopy (FQM). "When (graduate student) Jaemyung first showed me the FQM images of graphene materials," Huang says, "I was tricked by the vivid details and thought they were SEM or AFM images."

In addition, the group found that FQM can visualize graphene materials in solution. "No one has been able to demonstrate this before," Huang says. The dye can also be added to photoresist materials so that graphene sheets can be seen during photolithography. They also found that the dye could easily be washed off without disrupting the sheets themselves.

"It's a simple and dirt-cheap method that works surprisingly well in many situations," Huang says.


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Contact: Kyle Delaney
k-delaney@northwestern.edu
847-467-4010
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

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