Low-frequency noise with the spectral density S(f)∼1/fγ (f is the frequency and γ ≈ 1) is a ubiquitous phenomenon, which hampers operation of many devices and circuits. A long-standing question of particular importance for electronics is whether 1/f noise is generated on the surface of electrical conductors or inside their volumes. Using high-quality graphene multilayers, we were able to directly address this fundamental problem of the noise origin. Unlike the thickness of metal or semiconductor films, the thickness of graphene multilayers can be continuously and uniformly varied all the way down to a single atomic layer of graphene—the actual surface. We found that 1/f noise becomes dominated by the volume noise when the thickness exceeds ∼7 atomic layers (∼2.5 nm). The 1/f noise is the surface phenomenon below this thickness. The obtained results are important for continuous downscaling of conventional electronics and for the proposed graphene applications in sensors and communications.

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