In situ manipulation and switching of dislocations in bilayer graphene

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Science Advances  10 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaat4712
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat4712


Topological defects in crystalline solids are of fundamental interest in physics and materials science because they can radically alter the properties of virtually any material. Of particular importance are line defects, known as dislocations, which are the main carriers of plasticity and have a tremendous effect on electronic and optical properties. Understanding and controlling the occurrence and behavior of those defects have been of major and ongoing interest since their discovery in the 1930s. This interest was renewed with the advent of two-dimensional materials in which a single topological defect can alter the functionality of the whole system and even create new physical phenomena. We present an experimental approach to directly manipulate dislocations in situ on the nanometer scale by using a dedicated scanning electron microscope setup. With this approach, key fundamental characteristics such as line tension, defect interaction, and node formation have been studied. A novel switching reaction, based on the recombination of dislocation lines, was found, which paves the way for the concept of switches made of a bimodal topological defect configuration.

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