Image potential states as a quantum probe of graphene interfaces
Image potential states (IPSs) are electronic states localized in front of a surface in a potential well, formed by the surface projected bulk band gap on one side and the image potential barrier on the other. In the limit of a two-dimensional solid, a double Rydberg series of IPSs has been predicted, which is in contrast to a single series present in three-dimensional solids. Here, we confirm this prediction experimentally for mono- and bilayer graphene. The IPSs of epitaxial graphene on SiC are measured by scanning tunneling spectroscopy and the results are compared with ab-initio band structure calculations. Despite the presence of the substrate, both calculations and experimental measurements show that the first pair of the double series of IPSs survives and eventually evolves into a single series for graphite. Thus, IPSs provide an elegant quantum probe of the interfacial coupling in graphene systems.