Sample size effects on the transport characteristics of mesoscopic graphite samples

phys. stat. sol. a 205, 2924 (2008)

J. Barzola-Quiquia, J. L. Yao, P. Rödiger, K. Schindler and P. Esquinazi


In this work we investigated correlations between the internal microstructure and sample size (lateral as well as thickness) of mesoscopic, tens of nanometer thick graphite (multigraphene) samples and the temperature $(T)$ and field $(B)$ dependence of their electrical resistivity $\rho(T,B)$. Low energy transmission electron microscopy reveals that the original highly oriented pyrolytic graphite material — from which the multigraphene samples were obtained by exfoliation — is composed of a stack of $\sim 50 $nm thick and micrometer long crystalline regions separated by interfaces running parallel to the graphene planes. We found a qualitative and quantitative change in the behavior of $\rho(T,B)$ upon thickness of the multigraphene samples, indicating that their internal microstructure is important.} {The overall results indicate that the metallic-like behavior of $\rho(T)$ at zero field measured for bulk graphite samples is not intrinsic of ideal graphite. The results suggest that the interfaces between crystalline regions may be responsible for the superconducting-like properties observed in graphite. Our transport measurements also show that reducing the sample lateral size as well as the length between voltage electrodes decreases the magnetoresistance, in agreement with recently published results. The magnetoresistance of the multigraphene samples shows a scaling of the form ($(R(B) – R(0))/R(0))/T^\alpha = f(B/T)$ with a sample dependent exponent $\alpha \sim 1$, which applies in the whole temperature 2 K $\le T \le 270$K and magnetic field range $B \le 8 $T.