Tuning the Electronic and Magnetic Properties of Nitrogen-Functionalized Few-Layered Graphene Nanoflakes

Navneet Soin, Sekhar C. Ray, Sweety Sarma, Debarati Mazumder, Surbhi Sharma, Yu Fu Wang, Way Faung Pong, Susanta Sinha Roy, André M. Strydom

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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In this article, we report the modification of the electronic and magnetic properties of few-layered graphene (FLG) nanoflakes by nitrogen functionalization carried out using radio-frequency plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (rf-PECVD) and electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) plasma processes. Even though the rf-PECVD N 2 treatment led to higher N-doping levels in the FLG (4.06 atomic %) as compared to the ECR process (2.18 atomic %), the ferromagnetic behavior of the ECR FLG (118.62 × 10 -4 emu/g) was significantly higher than that of the rf-PECVD FLG (0.39 × 10 -4 emu/g) and pristine graphene (3.47 × 10 -4 emu/g). Although both plasma processes introduce electron-donating N atoms into the graphene structure, distinct dominant nitrogen bonding configurations (pyridinic, pyrrolic) were observed for the two FLG types. Whereas the ECR plasma introduced more sp 2 -type nitrogen moieties, the rf-PECVD process led to the formation of sp 3 -coordinated nitrogen functionalities, as confirmed through Raman measurements. The samples were further characterized using X-ray absorption near-edge spectroscopy (XANES), and X-ray and ultraviolet photoelectron spectroscopies revealed an increased electronic density of states and a significantly higher concentration of pyrrolic groups in the rf-PECVD samples. Because of the formation of reactive edge structures and pyridinic nitrogen moieties, the ECR-functionalized FLG samples exhibited highest saturation magnetization behavior with the lowest field hysteretic features. In comparison, the rf-PECVD samples displayed the lowest saturation magnetization owing to the disappearance of magnetic edge states and formation of stable nonradical-type defects in the pyrrole type structures. Our experimental results thus provide new evidence regarding the control of the magnetic and electronic properties of few-layered graphene nanoflakes through control of the plasma-processing route.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14073-14082
Number of pages10
JournalJournal Of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 7 Jun 2017


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