Tuning the Fermi Level of Graphene by Two-Dimensional Metals for Raman Detection of Molecules

Na Zhang, Kunyan Zhang, Min Zou, Rinu Abraham Maniyara, Timothy Andrew Bowen, Jonathon Ray Schrecengost, Arpit Jain, Da Zhou, Chengye Dong, Zhuohang Yu, He Liu, Noel C. Giebink, Joshua A. Robinson, Wei Hu, Shengxi Huang, Mauricio Terrones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Graphene-enhanced Raman scattering (GERS) offers great opportunities to achieve optical sensing with a high uniformity and superior molecular selectivity. The GERS mechanism relies on charge transfer between molecules and graphene, which is difficult to manipulate by varying the band alignment between graphene and the molecules. In this work, we synthesized a few atomic layers of metal termed two-dimensional (2D) metal to precisely and deterministically modify the graphene Fermi level. Using copper phthalocyanine (CuPc) as a representative molecule, we demonstrated that tuning the Fermi level can significantly improve the signal enhancement and molecular selectivity of GERS. Specifically, aligning the Fermi level of graphene closer to the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) of CuPc results in a more pronounced Raman enhancement. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations of the charge density distribution reproduce the enhanced charge transfer between CuPc molecules and graphene with a modulated Fermi level. Extending our investigation to other molecules such as rhodamine 6G, rhodamine B, crystal violet, and F16CuPc, we showed that 2D metals enabled Fermi level tuning, thus improving GERS detection for molecules and contributing to an enhanced molecular selectivity. This underscores the potential of utilizing 2D metals for the precise control and optimization of GERS applications, which will benefit the development of highly sensitive, specific, and reliable sensors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8876-8884
Number of pages9
JournalACS nano
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 26 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy

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