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Nano Lett. 2012 Mar 14;12(3):1707-10. doi: 10.1021/nl3002205. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

Electron tunneling through ultrathin boron nitride crystalline barriers.

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School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, United Kingdom.


We investigate the electronic properties of ultrathin hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) crystalline layers with different conducting materials (graphite, graphene, and gold) on either side of the barrier layer. The tunnel current depends exponentially on the number of h-BN atomic layers, down to a monolayer thickness. Conductive atomic force microscopy scans across h-BN terraces of different thickness reveal a high level of uniformity in the tunnel current. Our results demonstrate that atomically thin h-BN acts as a defect-free dielectric with a high breakdown field. It offers great potential for applications in tunnel devices and in field-effect transistors with a high carrier density in the conducting channel.

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