Industrial Electronics

Video: Successful synthesis of hexagonal boron nitride on graphene

15 April 2022

A reliable, scalable method for growing single layers of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) on graphene has been developed. The process can produce large sheets of high-quality hBN with the widely used molecular-beam epitaxy process and could advance research in next-generation electronics and LED devices.

Graphene-hBN structures can power LEDs that generate deep-ultraviolet (UV) light and lead to smaller, more efficient lasers, air purifiers and other devices. Bonding hBN, the thinnest insulator available, and graphene together in smooth, single-atom-thick layers can also enable quantum computing devices and a variety of other applications.

Previous attempts to synthesize thin layers of hBN relied on methods like sputtering and chemical vapor deposition and struggled to achieve the even, precisely ordered layers of atoms needed to bond correctly with the graphene layer. Recognizing that neat rows of hBN atoms are more stable at high temperatures, researchers from Yale University, University of Michigan and Ohio State University experimented with molecular-beam epitaxy, an industrial process that entails spraying individual atoms onto a substrate.

Schematic of monolayer hBN grown along a) straight and b) zigzag graphene atomic  edges,  forming  straight  and  jagged  nanoribbons,  respectively. Source: doi.org/10.1002/adma.202201387Schematic of monolayer hBN grown along a) straight and b) zigzag graphene atomic edges, forming straight and jagged nanoribbons, respectively. Source: doi.org/10.1002/adma.202201387

A terraced graphene substrate was heated to around 1,600° C before spraying on individual boron and active nitrogen atoms. Neatly ordered seams of hBN formed on terraced edges of the graphene, which expanded into wide ribbons of material.

The process outlined in Advanced Materials marks progress toward the commercialization of 2D quantum structures.

To contact the author of this article, email shimmelstein@globalspec.com


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