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Phys Rev Lett. 2008 May 2;100(17):176802. Epub 2008 Apr 29.

Origin of anomalous electronic structures of epitaxial graphene on silicon carbide.

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Department of Physics and Astronomy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-747, Korea.


On the basis of first-principles calculations, we report that a novel interfacial atomic structure occurs between graphene and the surface of silicon carbide, destroying the Dirac point of graphene and opening a substantial energy gap there. In the calculated atomic structures, a quasiperiodic 6x6 domain pattern emerges out of a larger commensurate 6 sqrt [3] x 6 sqrt [3]R30 degrees periodic interfacial reconstruction, resolving a long standing experimental controversy on the periodicity of the interfacial superstructures. Our theoretical energy spectrum shows a gap and midgap states at the Dirac point of graphene, which are in excellent agreement with the recently observed anomalous angle-resolved photoemission spectra. Beyond solving unexplained issues in epitaxial graphene, our atomistic study may provide a way to engineer the energy gaps of graphene on substrates.

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