Evolution of Graphene Growth on Pt(111): From Carbon Clusters to Nanoislands

We study the growth of graphene on a Pt(111) surface in stages by varying the annealing temperature of the precursor hydrocarbon decomposition through an atomic-scale analysis using scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) and studying the geometry-affected electronic properties of graphene nanoislands (GNs) through scanning tunneling spectroscopy. STM reveals that graphene grows on a Pt(111) surface from dome-shaped carbon clusters to flat GNs with the intermediate stages of dome-shaped and basin-shaped hexagonal GN structures. Density functional theory calculations confirm the changes in direction of the concavity upon increase in the size of the GNs. The structural changes are also found to have a significant effect on the electronic properties. Landau levels arise from strain-induced pseudomagnetic fields because of the large curvature, and the nanoscale-size effect promotes electron confinement.