This paper reports on a study by angle-resolved photoelectron and low-energy electron energy loss spectroscopy of graphene monolayers, which are produced by propylene cracking on the Ni(111) surface, followed by intercalation of Cu, Ag, and Au atoms between the graphene monolayer and the substrate, for various thicknesses of deposited metal layers and annealing temperatures. It has been shown that the spectra of valence-band pi states and of phonon vibrational modes measured after intercalation become similar to those characteristic of single-crystal graphite with weak interlayer coupling. Despite the strong coupling of the graphene monolayer to the substrate becoming suppressed by intercalation of Cu and Ag atoms, the pi state branch does not reach at the K point of the Brillouin zone the Fermi level, with the graphene coating itself breaking up partially to form graphene domains. At the same time after intercalation of Au atoms, the electronic band structure approaches the closest to that of isolated graphene, with linear pi-state dispersion near the K point of the Brillouin zone, and the point of crossing of the filled, (pi), with empty, (pi*), states lying in the region of the Fermi level, which makes this system a promising experimental model of the quasi-free graphene monolayer.
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