Atomically thin layers of B–N–C–O with tunable composition

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Science Advances  31 Jul 2015:
Vol. 1, no. 6, e1500094
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1500094

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In recent times, atomically thin alloys of boron, nitrogen, and carbon have generated significant excitement as a composition-tunable two-dimensional (2D) material that demonstrates rich physics as well as application potentials. The possibility of tunably incorporating oxygen, a group VI element, into the honeycomb sp2-type 2D-BNC lattice is an intriguing idea from both fundamental and applied perspectives. We present the first report on an atomically thin quaternary alloy of boron, nitrogen, carbon, and oxygen (2D-BNCO). Our experiments suggest, and density functional theory (DFT) calculations corroborate, stable configurations of a honeycomb 2D-BNCO lattice. We observe micrometer-scale 2D-BNCO domains within a graphene-rich 2D-BNC matrix, and are able to control the area coverage and relative composition of these domains by varying the oxygen content in the growth setup. Macroscopic samples comprising 2D-BNCO domains in a graphene-rich 2D-BNC matrix show graphene-like gate-modulated electronic transport with mobility exceeding 500 cm2 V−1 s−1, and Arrhenius-like activated temperature dependence. Spin-polarized DFT calculations for nanoscale 2D-BNCO patches predict magnetic ground states originating from the B atoms closest to the O atoms and sizable (0.6 eV < Eg < 0.8 eV) band gaps in their density of states. These results suggest that 2D-BNCO with novel electronic and magnetic properties have great potential for nanoelectronics and spintronic applications in an atomically thin platform.

  • graphene
  • atomically thin sheets
  • two dimensional
  • alloy
  • boron
  • nitrogen
  • oxygen
  • magnetism

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