The intrinsic transport properties, such as carrier mobility and saturation velocity, of graphene are the highest among materials owing to its linear band dispersion and weak backscattering. However, the reported field-effect mobility of transistors using graphene as a channel is much lower than the intrinsic channel mobility. One of the reasons for this low mobility is the high contact resistance between graphene and metals used for the source and drain electrodes, which results from the interfacial roughness. Even Ni, which is a promising contact metal for many materials because of its high adhesion and lower contact resistance, does not meet the requirement as a contact metal for graphene. Noticing that the interfacial roughness between the a metal and graphene is strongly related to the onset of the contact resistance, we performed transmission electron microscopy and photoemission electron microscopy measurements to evaluate the microscopic lateral and longitudinal distributions of Ni atoms at the Ni/graphene interface formed on epitaxial graphene (EG) on 4H-SiC(0001). Our data revealed that the deposited Ni atoms diffused into the EG layers, but they did not reach the EG/SiC interface, and the diffusion was stronger on bilayered graphene than on monolayered graphene. We thus ascribe the layer-number-dependent internal diffusion of Ni atoms in EG as a cause of the microscopic interfacial roughness between graphene and the metal. Ensuring homogeneous distribution of the number of EG layers should be key to lowering the contact resistance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)