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Corrugation in the Weakly Interacting Hexagonal-BN/Cu(111) System: Structure Determination by Combining Noncontact Atomic Force Microscopy and X-ray Standing Waves.

Authors
  • Schwarz, Martin1
  • Riss, Alexander1
  • Garnica, Manuela1
  • Ducke, Jacob1
  • Deimel, Peter S1
  • Duncan, David A2
  • Thakur, Pardeep Kumar2
  • Lee, Tien-Lin2
  • Seitsonen, Ari Paavo3
  • Barth, Johannes V1
  • Allegretti, Francesco1
  • Auwärter, Willi1
  • 1 Technical University of Munich , Department of Physics, 85748 Garching, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 Diamond Light Source , Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Didcot OX11 0DE, United Kingdom. , (United Kingdom)
  • 3 Département de Chimie, École Normale Supérieure , 24 rue Lhomond, F-75005 Paris, France. , (France)
Type
Published Article
Journal
ACS Nano
Publisher
American Chemical Society
Publication Date
Sep 26, 2017
Volume
11
Issue
9
Pages
9151–9161
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.7b04022
PMID: 28872822
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Atomically thin hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) layers on metallic supports represent a promising platform for the selective adsorption of atoms, clusters, and molecular nanostructures. Specifically, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) studies revealed an electronic corrugation of h-BN/Cu(111), guiding the self-assembly of molecules and their energy level alignment. A detailed characterization of the h-BN/Cu(111) interface including the spacing between the h-BN sheet and its support-elusive to STM measurements-is crucial to rationalize the interfacial interactions within these systems. To this end, we employ complementary techniques including high-resolution noncontact atomic force microscopy, STM, low-energy electron diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, the X-ray standing wave method, and density functional theory. Our multimethod study yields a comprehensive, quantitative structure determination including the adsorption height and the corrugation of the sp2 bonded h-BN layer on Cu(111). Based on the atomic contrast in atomic force microscopy measurements, we derive a measurable-hitherto unrecognized-geometric corrugation of the h-BN monolayer. This experimental approach allows us to spatially resolve minute height variations in low-dimensional nanostructures, thus providing a benchmark for theoretical modeling. Regarding potential applications, e.g., as a template or catalytically active support, the recognition of h-BN on Cu(111) as a weakly bonded and moderately corrugated overlayer is highly relevant.

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