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Carbon, 2D materials and nanotechnology

Raman spectroscopy is probably the most important analytical tool available for investigating the many different structures produced from carbon, and for studying the many 2D materials now known.

Analyse all the forms of carbon

Renishaw's Raman systems are being used to research, develop, and control the quality of carbon materials. You can determine:

  • the number of graphene layers, and their defects, doping and strain
  • Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) thickness and hybridised composition (sp2 and sp3)
  • Carbon Nanotube (CNT) diameter and functionalisation
  • diamond stress, purity and origin (synthetic or natural)
  • the properties of C60 and other fullerenes
  • the structural composition of amorphous carbons

You can use Raman to identify all the forms of carbon, including graphene, carbon nanotubes (CNT), graphite, diamond, and diamond-like carbon (DLC). You can also study 2D materials such as MoS2, hBN, and WSe2.

The massive range of consumer products that use carbon-based materials—and the promise of 2D materials for future technologies—make these key application areas for Raman spectroscopy.

Analyse CVD graphene grown on copper foils

Renishaw's LiveTrackfocus-tracking technology maintains sample focus, even when mapping large areas that are not flat.

Analyse monolayers and thin films

Some of the most interesting new materials consist of single, or just a few, atomic layers. The high sensitivity of Renishaw's Raman systems makes identifying and analysing them quick and easy.

More signal, no damage

Some thin carbon films, such as DLC, can be damaged by high laser power densities. With Renishaw's line-focus laser illumination technology, power densities are reduced, but total laser power is retained. You can collect high quality data rapidly, without damaging your samples.


The high spatial resolution of Renishaw's inVia confocal Raman microscope makes it suitable for studying the structure and defects of nanomaterials, such as graphene and CNTs.

Renishaw can combine Raman analysis with scanning probe microscopes (such as atomic force microscopes). These systems add chemical analysis capabilities to the high spatial resolution topography and property information acquired by SPMs/AFMs. You can also use tip-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (TERS) to acquire nanometre-scale Raman chemical information.

Quality assurance

Renishaw has over 20 years experience providing systems to verify the quality of carbon materials. Its systems are used worldwide to quickly and accurately check the quality of materials.

All encompassing spectra

Renishaw's SynchroScan produces high-resolution wide-range spectra. Collecting data covering the entire Raman and photoluminescence range is simple and fast. For example, you can:

  • see carbon nanotube radial-breathing modes (RBMs), with the G and 2D bands, together
  • study photoluminescence features associated with defects in diamond, as well as its Raman spectrum

We're here when you need us

Our applications specialists have a wealth of experience across a broad range of Raman application areas.

Contact our applications team to find out more about these application areas, or an application that isn't covered here.

Image gallery

Videos: materials science (carbon, 2D materials and nanotechnology)

  • StreamHR Rapide - graphene StreamHR Rapide - graphene

    Using a Renishaw inVia confocal Raman microscope and WiRE™ software to image graphene. The image build up is shown at true data collection speed using StreamHR Rapide. The analysis clearly shows monolayer and multilayer graphene. A second image shows defects in the graphene.

  • The benefits of using Raman spectroscopy to study graphene The benefits of using Raman spectroscopy to study graphene

    Professor Robert J Young FREng, FRS of the National Graphene Institute and School of materials, University of Manchester, discusses the use of Raman spectroscopy to study graphene. Video for Linkedin use only.

  • Raman image of graphene grown on copper Raman image of graphene grown on copper

    StreamHR and LiveTrack focus-tracking were used to analyse a 30 mm square region of copper foil. The colours indicate variations in strain and electronic properties.

Downloads: materials science (carbon, 2D materials and nanotechnology)

Watch our joint webinar with Oxford Instruments

Growth & Characterisation of 2D Materials Beyond Graphene

Investigation into the physics and technology of graphene in the past decade has triggered research into a large family of similar Van der Waals structures.

One such class of materials that is receiving a huge amount of attention is Transition Metal DiChalcogenides (TMDCs) which have shown immense potential towards both electronics and optoelectronics applications. This webinar will focus on recent advances in growth of 2D materials and on Raman characterisation, and elucidate the interplay between process engineering and materials characterisation.

The webinar comprises two talks:
Characterisation of 2D materials and heterostructures - Dr Tim Batten, Renishaw, UK
Deposition of 2D materials and heterostructures - Dr Ravi Sundaram , Oxford Instruments, UK

Watch the webinar

Find out more

Latest carbon, 2D materials and nanotechnology news

The University of Colorado Boulder, USA, combines Raman spectroscopy and nanoindentation

The Biomechanics and Biomimetics Research Laboratory at the University of Colorado Boulder uses a Renishaw inVia™ confocal Raman microscope to characterise biological tissues and biomaterials. The system has been interfaced with a nanoindenter system from Hysitron Inc, Minneapolis, USA, to provide combined chemical and mechanical information on samples.

Renishaw's inVia used for quality control analysis at New Plasma Technologies

New Plasma Technologies (NPT), based in Moscow, Russia, uses a Renishaw inVia confocal Raman microscope for investigating the structure and chemical properties of materials, non-destructively.

Renishaw Raman systems used to study 2D materials at Boston University, Massachusetts

Founded in 1839, Boston University has over 33,000 students. The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering houses the Optical Characterization and Nanophotonics (OCN) laboratory. Here, research focuses on developing, and applying, advanced optical characterization techniques to the study of solid-state and biological phenomena, at the nanoscale.

The Casiraghi Group use Raman in the study of graphene

Dr Cinzia Casiraghi is a Reader in Graphene and Carbon Nanostructures, in the School of Chemistry, at the University of Manchester, UK. She runs a research group, the Casiraghi Group, which uses Raman spectroscopy to derive quantitative information on the properties and structure of carbon nanostructures.