Polarization-Driven Asymmetric Electronic Response of Monolayer Graphene to Polymer Zwitterions Probed from Both Sides

Nicholas Hight-Huf, Yehiel Nagar, Adi Levi, James Nicolas Pagaduan, Avdhoot Datar, Reika Katsumata, Todd Emrick, Ashwin Ramasubramaniam, Doron Naveh, Michael D. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We investigated the nature of graphene surface doping by zwitterionic polymers and the implications of weak in-plane and strong through-plane screening using a novel sample geometry that allows direct access to either the graphene or the polymer side of a graphene/polymer interface. Using both Kelvin probe and electrostatic force microscopies, we observed a significant upshift in the Fermi level in graphene of ∼260 meV that was dominated by a change in polarizability rather than pure charge transfer with the organic overlayer. This physical picture is supported by density functional theory (DFT) calculations, which describe a redistribution of charge in graphene in response to the dipoles of the adsorbed zwitterionic moieties, analogous to a local DC Stark effect. Strong metallic-like screening of the adsorbed dipoles was observed by employing an inverted geometry, an effect identified by DFT to arise from a strongly asymmetric redistribution of charge confined to the side of graphene proximal to the zwitterion dipoles. Transport measurements confirm n-type doping with no significant impact on carrier mobility, thus demonstrating a route to desirable electronic properties in devices that combine graphene with lithographically patterned polymers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47945-47953
Number of pages9
JournalACS applied materials & interfaces
Issue number40
StatePublished - 13 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We gratefully acknowledge the National Science Foundation (NSF-BSF 1808011) and the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (2017655) for support. J.N.P. thanks PPG Industries, Inc. for the 2018–2019 PPG Foundation Fellowship. R.K. expresses gratitude for startup funding from UMass Amherst. A.D. and A.R. acknowledge computational support from the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by the National Science Foundation grant number ACI-1548562.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.


  • EFM
  • FET
  • KPFM
  • charge transfer
  • graphene
  • hybrid 2D materials
  • lithography
  • polarizability
  • screening
  • zwitterion


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