Heteroepitaxial Growth of Two-Dimensional Hexagonal Boron Nitride Templated by Graphene Edges

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Science  10 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6167, pp. 163-167
DOI: 10.1126/science.1246137

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Heteroepitaxy Writ Thin

A common method for creating a thin single-crystal layer of a semiconductor for use in an electronic device is heteroepitaxy—growing the layer on the face of a single crystal of a different material that acts as a template for assembly. Liu et al. (p. 163) now describe a similar process in which the edge of a graphene layer that was grown on a copper surface directs the assembly of a monolayer of hexagonal boron nitride. The boron nitride grew from inside edge of holes created in the graphene layer. The interface and the relative orientation of the two layers were determined by a variety of scanning microscopy and surface diffraction techniques.


By adapting the concept of epitaxy to two-dimensional space, we show the growth of a single-atomic-layer, in-plane heterostructure of a prototypical material system—graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). Monolayer crystalline h-BN grew from fresh edges of monolayer graphene with atomic lattice coherence, forming an abrupt one-dimensional interface, or boundary. More important, the h-BN lattice orientation is solely determined by the graphene, forgoing configurations favored by the supporting copper substrate.

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