The optical visibility of graphene: interference colors of ultrathin graphite on SiO(2)

Nano Lett. 2007 Sep;7(9):2707-10. doi: 10.1021/nl071158l. Epub 2007 Aug 1.


Monatomic layers of graphite are emerging as building blocks for novel optoelectronic devices. Experimental studies on a single graphite layer (graphene) are today possible since very thin graphite can be identified on a dielectric substrate using a normal optical microscope. We investigate the mechanism behind the strong visibility of graphite, and we discuss the importance of substrates and of the microscope objective used for the imaging.

MeSH terms

  • Colorimetry / methods*
  • Graphite / chemistry*
  • Macromolecular Substances / chemistry
  • Materials Testing / methods*
  • Microscopy / methods*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Nanotechnology / methods
  • Particle Size
  • Refractometry / methods*
  • Silicon Dioxide / chemistry
  • Surface Properties


  • Macromolecular Substances
  • Silicon Dioxide
  • Graphite