Raman spectroscopy is probably the most important analytical tool available for investigating the many different structures produced from carbon. You can use Raman to identify all the forms, including graphene, carbon nanotubes (CNT), graphite, diamond, and diamond-like carbon (DLC).

The massive range of consumer products that use carbon-based materials—and the promise of carbon materials for future technologies—make this a key application area for Raman spectroscopy.

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

Analyse monolayers and thin films

StreamLine HR Rapide image of graphene Some of the most interesting forms of carbon 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.

Image: StreamLineHR™ Rapide image of single-layer graphene (red) and multi-layered graphene (green) on a Si/SiO2 substrate. The data, comprising 52,136 spectra, were collected at a rate of 700 spectra / s.


AFM image of a graphene flake with Raman spectra from far-field and TERS measurements The high spatial resolution of Renishaw's inVia confocal Raman microscope makes it suitable for studying the structure and defects of carbon materials, 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.

Image: AFM image of a graphene flake with Raman spectra from far-field and TERS measurements. The circle represents the size of the laser spot, from which a far-field Raman spectrum was acquired (black). The smaller dot represents the location of the TERS hot-spot on the graphene (~ 20 nm diameter), from which a TERS spectrum was derived (blue). The carbon 2D band of the far-field spectrum (black) exhibits features of single-, double-, and multi-layer graphene. The band in the TERS spectrum (blue) is narrower than that of the far-field spectrum, and represents solely single-layer graphene. This demonstrates the high spatial resolution of TERS.

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

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.

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. 

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Image gallery

  • StreamLineHR™ Rapide image of graphene
  • AFM image of a graphene flake with Raman spectra from far-field and TERS measurements.
  • White light and Raman images of graphene
  • White light and Raman images of diamond film
  • Raman and photoluminescence images of diamond film
  • Raman image of a carbon nanotube

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