Measuring strain and rotation fields at the dislocation core in graphene Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2015


  • 15


  • 92

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1098-0121

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1550-235X


  • Strain fields, dislocations, and defects may be used to control electronic properties of graphene. By using advanced imaging techniques with high-resolution transmission electron microscopes, we have measured the strain and rotation fields about dislocations in monolayer graphene with single-atom sensitivity. These fields differ qualitatively from those given by conventional linear elasticity. However, atom positions calculated from two-dimensional (2D) discrete elasticity and three-dimensional discrete periodized Foppl-von Karman equations (dpFvKEs) yield fields close to experiments when determined by geometric phase analysis. 2D theories produce symmetric fields whereas those from experiments exhibit asymmetries. Numerical solutions of dpFvKEs provide strain and rotation fields of dislocation dipoles and pairs that also exhibit asymmetries and, compared with experiments, may yield information on out-of-plane displacements of atoms. While discrete theories need to be solved numerically, analytical formulas for strains and rotation about dislocations can be obtained from 2D Mindlin's hyperstress theory. These formulas are very useful for fitting experimental data and provide a template to ascertain the importance of nonlinear and nonplanar effects. Measuring the parameters of this theory, we find two characteristic lengths between three and four times the lattice spacings that control dilatation and rotation about a dislocation. At larger distances from the dislocation core, the elastic fields decay to those of conventional elasticity. Our results may be relevant for strain engineering in graphene and other 2D materials of current interest.


  • atomic-scale; displacement; defects; membranes