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Synthesis of borophenes: Anisotropic, two-dimensional boron polymorphs

Science  18 Dec 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6267, pp. 1513-1516
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad1080

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Borophene: Boron in two dimensions

Although bulk allotropes of carbon and boron differ greatly, small clusters of these elements show remarkable similarities. Boron analogs of two-dimensional carbon allotropes such as graphene have been predicted. Now Mannix et al. report the formation of two-dimensional boron by depositing the elemental boron onto a silver surface under ultrahigh-vacuum conditions (see the Perspective by Sachdev). The graphene-like structure was buckled, weakly bonded to the substrate, and metallic.

Science, this issue p. 1513; see also p. 1468

Abstract

At the atomic-cluster scale, pure boron is markedly similar to carbon, forming simple planar molecules and cage-like fullerenes. Theoretical studies predict that two-dimensional (2D) boron sheets will adopt an atomic configuration similar to that of boron atomic clusters. We synthesized atomically thin, crystalline 2D boron sheets (i.e., borophene) on silver surfaces under ultrahigh-vacuum conditions. Atomic-scale characterization, supported by theoretical calculations, revealed structures reminiscent of fused boron clusters with multiple scales of anisotropic, out-of-plane buckling. Unlike bulk boron allotropes, borophene shows metallic characteristics that are consistent with predictions of a highly anisotropic, 2D metal.

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