Influence of metal support in-plane symmetry on the corrugation of hexagonal boron nitride and graphene monolayers
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Predicting the properties of two-dimensional (2D) materials as graphene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) monolayers after their growth on any given substrate is a major challenge. While the influence of the electron configuration of the atoms of the underlying surface is well-understood, the effect of substrate geometry still remains unclear. The structural properties of h-BN monolayers grown on a rectangularly packed Rh(110) surface were characterized in situ by ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunneling microscopy and were compared to those that this material exhibits when grown on substrates showing different crystallographic orientations. Although the h-BN monolayer grown on Rh(110) was dominated by a unique quasiunidimensional moiré pattern, suggesting considerable interface interaction, the moiré corrugation was unexpectedly smaller than those reported for strongly interacting interfaces with hexagonal-terminated substrates, owing to differences in the possible binding landscapes at interfaces with differently oriented substrates. Moreover, a rule was derived for predicting how interface corrugation and the existence and extent of subregions within moiré supercells containing favorable sites for orbital mixing between h-BN monolayers and their supports depend on substrate symmetry. These general symmetry considerations can be applied to numerous 2D materials, including graphene, thereby enabling the prediction of how substrate choice determines the properties of these materials. Furthermore, they could also provide new routes for tuning 2D material properties and for developing nanotemplates showing different geometries for growing adsorbate superlattices.
Keywordshexagonal boron nitride graphene 2-dimensional materials scanning tunneling microscopy moiré superstructures nanotemplates
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Authors acknowledge financial support from AEI and FEDER under project MAT2016-77852-C2-2-R (AEI/FEDER, UE). A.J.M.-G. acknowledges funding from the Spanish MINECO through the Juan de la Cierva program (ref. IJCI-2014-19209).
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