Date of Award

Winter 2017

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Karsten Pohl

Second Advisor

David Lashmore

Third Advisor

Benjamin Chandran


For some time there has been interest in the fundamental physical properties of low- dimensional material systems. The discovery of graphene as a stable two-dimensional form of solid carbon lead to an exponential increase in research in two-dimensional and other re- duced dimensional systems. It is now known that there is a wide range of materials which are stable in two-dimensional form. These materials span a large configuration space of struc- tural, mechanical, and electronic properties, which results in the potential to create novel electronic devices from nano-scale heterostructures with exactly tailored device properties. Understanding the material properties at the nanoscale level requires specialized tools to probe materials with atomic precision.

Here I present the growth and analysis of a novel graphene-ruthenium system which exhibits unique polymorphism in its surface structure, hereby referred to as polymorphic graphene. Scanning Tunneling Microscopy (STM) investigations of the polymorphic graphene surface reveal a periodically rippled structure with a vast array of domains, each exhibiting xvia unique moire period. The majority of moire domains found in this polymorphic graphene system are previously unreported in past studies of the structure of graphene on ruthenium. To better understand many of the structural properties of this system, characterization methods beyond those available at the UNH surface science lab are employed. Further investigation using Low Energy Electron Microscopy (LEEM) has been carried out at Sandia National Laboratory’s Center for Integrated Nanotechnology and the Brookhaven National Laboratory Center for Functional Nanomaterials. To aid in analysis of the LEEM data, I have developed an open source software package to automate extraction of electron reflectivity curves from real space and reciprocal space data sets.

This software has been used in the study of numerous other two-dimensional materials beyond graphene. When combined with computational modeling, the analysis of electron I(V) curves presents a method to quantify structural parameters in a material with angstrom level precision. While many materials studied in this thesis offer unique electronic properties, my work focuses primarily on their structural aspects, as well as the instrumentation required to characterize the structure with ultra high resolution.