Creation of two-dimensional layered Zintl phase by dimensional manipulation of crystal structure

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Science Advances  28 Jun 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 6, eaax0390
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax0390


The discovery of new families, beyond graphene, of two-dimensional (2D) layered materials has always attracted great attention. However, it has been challenging to artificially develop layered materials with honeycomb atomic lattice structure composed of multicomponents such as hexagonal boron nitride. Here, through the dimensional manipulation of a crystal structure from sp3-hybridized 3D-ZnSb, we create an unprecedented layered structure of Zintl phase, which is constructed by the staking of sp2-hybridized honeycomb ZnSb layers. Using structural analysis combined with theoretical calculation, it is found that the 2D-ZnSb has a stable and robust layered structure. The bidimensional polymorphism is a previously unobserved phenomenon at ambient pressure in Zintl families and can be a common feature of transition metal pnictides. This dimensional manipulation of a crystal structure thus provides a rational design strategy to search for new 2D layered materials in various compounds, enabling unlimited expansion of 2D libraries and corresponding physical properties.

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