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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.

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 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

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.

Analyse CVD graphene grown on copper foils

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


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.

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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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

Watch Raman mapping of graphene in action

Image gallery

  • StreamHR™ 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

Find out more

We're here when you need us

To find out more about this application area, or an application that isn't covered here, contact our applications team.

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.