Self-rotating graphene and boron heterostructures

Researchers at the University of Manchester have found that they can produce perfect stacking of graphene and boron nitride layers. Furthermore, if the layers in the heterostructure were disturbed, the crystals would self-rotate back to the ideal configuration. These heterostructures can be used to create new types of transistors, solar cells or LEDs.

This scientific discovery is important for better understanding the fundamentals of how 2D materials interact with each other and how these interactions can be provide another degree of control to fine tune materials with tailored properties.

Sir Kostya Novoselov, who led the team of researchers, said: “This work will pave the way for a new direction in physics and technology in van der Waals heterostructures. 2D crystals assembled together can exhibit dynamic properties which will be able to produce precision nanomechanics.”

Dr Colin Woods added: “The self-alignment mechanism will allow more controllable fabrication of ever more complex van der Waals heterostructures.”

The relationship between the two materials has also exhibited interesting phenomena such as a moiré pattern which, due to the mismatch and rotation between the layers, produces a geometric pattern similar to a kaleidoscope.

Although at this time, the interaction has only been observed between these two materials, the researchers will now study the relationship between other 2D materials and how the interactions between these materials can be used to maximise the potential of heterostructures.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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