Commensurate-incommensurate transition in graphene on hexagonal boron nitride

Woods, C. R. and Britnell, L. and Eckmann, A. and Ma, R. S. and Lu, J. C. and Guo, H. M. and Lin, X. and Yu, G. L. and Cao, Y. and Gorbachev, R. V. and Kretinin, A. V. and Park, J. and Ponomarenko, L. A. and Katsnelson, M. I. and Gornostyrev, Yu. N. and Watanabe, K. and Taniguchi, T. and Casiraghi, C. and Gao, H-J. and Geim, A. K. and Novoselov, K. S. (2014) Commensurate-incommensurate transition in graphene on hexagonal boron nitride. Nature Physics, 10 (6). pp. 451-456. ISSN 1745-2473

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When a crystal is subjected to a periodic potential, under certain circumstances it can adjust itself to follow the periodicity of the potential, resulting in a commensurate state. Of particular interest are topological defects between the two commensurate phases, such as solitons and domain walls. Here we report a commensurate-incommensurate transition for graphene on top of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN). Depending on the rotation angle between the lattices of the two crystals, graphene can either stretch to adapt to a slightly different hBN periodicity (for small angles, resulting in a commensurate state) or exhibit little adjustment (the incommensurate state). In the commensurate state, areas with matching lattice constants are separated by domain walls that accumulate the generated strain. Such soliton-like objects are not only of significant fundamental interest, but their presence could also explain recent experiments where electronic and optical properties of graphene-hBN heterostructures were observed to be considerably altered.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Nature Physics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? misfit-dislocationdirac fermionssuperlatticesheterostructuresmicroscopydynamicsfilmsgeneral physics and astronomyphysics and astronomy(all) ??
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Deposited On:
08 Sep 2014 10:04
Last Modified:
16 Jul 2024 09:36