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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 Mar 11;106(10):105505. Epub 2011 Mar 9.

From point defects in graphene to two-dimensional amorphous carbon.

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  • 1Department of Physics, University of Helsinki, Post Office Box 43, 00014 Helsinki, Finland. jani.kotakoski@iki.fi


While crystalline two-dimensional materials have become an experimental reality during the past few years, an amorphous 2D material has not been reported before. Here, using electron irradiation we create an sp2-hybridized one-atom-thick flat carbon membrane with a random arrangement of polygons, including four-membered carbon rings. We show how the transformation occurs step by step by nucleation and growth of low-energy multivacancy structures constructed of rotated hexagons and other polygons. Our observations, along with first-principles calculations, provide new insights to the bonding behavior of carbon and dynamics of defects in graphene. The created domains possess a band gap, which may open new possibilities for engineering graphene-based electronic devices.

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