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High-Frequency Elastic Coupling at the Interface of van der Waals Nanolayers Imaged by Picosecond Ultrasonics


Jake D.G. Greener

Elton de Lima Savi

Samuel Raetz

Zakhar D. Kovalyuk

Nikolay Chigarev

Vitalyi E. Gusev


Although the topography of van de Waals (vdW) layers and heterostructures can be imaged by scanning probe microscopy, high-frequency interface elastic properties are more difficult to assess. These can influence the stability, reliability and performance of electronic devices that require uniform layers and interfaces. Here, we use picosecond ultrasonics to image these properties in vdW layers and heterostructures based on well-known exfoliable materials, i.e. InSe, hBN and graphene. We reveal a strong, uniform elastic coupling between vdW layers over a wide range of frequencies of up to tens of gigahertz (GHz) and in-plane areas of 100 _m2. In contrast, the vdW layers can be weakly coupled to their supporting substrate, behaving effectively as free standing membranes. Our data and analysis demonstrate that picosecond ultrasonics offers opportunities can probe the high-frequency elastic coupling of vdW nanolayers and image both perfect and broken interfaces between different materials over a wide frequency range, as required for future scientific and technological developments.


Greener, J. D., de Lima Savi, E., Akimov, A. V., Raetz, S., Kudrynskyi, Z., Kovalyuk, Z. D., …Gusev, V. E. (2019). High-Frequency Elastic Coupling at the Interface of van der Waals Nanolayers Imaged by Picosecond Ultrasonics. ACS Nano, 13(10), 11530-11537.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 5, 2019
Online Publication Date Sep 5, 2019
Publication Date Oct 22, 2019
Deposit Date Sep 12, 2019
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2019
Journal ACS Nano
Print ISSN 1936-0851
Electronic ISSN 1936-086X
Publisher American Chemical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 10
Pages 11530-11537
Keywords General Engineering; General Physics and Astronomy; General Materials Science
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in ACS Nano, copyright ©American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see


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