Graphene nanostructures directly grown on SiC are appealing for their potential application to nano-scale electronic devices. In particular, epitaxial sidewall graphene nanoribbons have been a promising candidate in ballistic transport and band gap engineering. In this thesis, we study graphene nanoribbons by utilizing both nano-lithography and natural step bunching to control the step morphology of the SiC(0001) surface in order to guide the growth of graphene which initiates at step edges, and study their respective characteristics. With scanning tunneling microscopy and spectroscopy (STM/STS), we explore the local atomic and electronic structures of the graphene nanoribbons down to atomic scale. It is found that nanoribbon formation depends critically on nanofacet orientation, nanofacet density, and growth conditions. Under some conditions, nanoribbons grow predominantly on the nanofacet. Significant electronic density-of-states features, resolved by STS, are found to depend strongly on proximity to strained graphene near the step edge. Experimental results are compared to Molecular Dynamics simulations to better understand the origin of the discrete electronic states.
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