Research Article


In-situ observations of novel single-atom thick 2D tin membranes embedded in graphene

Xiaoqin Yang1,2,§, Huy Q. Ta3,§, Wei Li2,§, Rafael G. Mendes3, Yu Liu2, Qitao Shi2, Sami Ullah2, Alicja Bachmatiuk3,4,5, Jinping Luo1, Lijun Liu1 (✉), Jin-Ho Choi2 (✉), and Mark H. Rummeli2,3,4,6 (✉)

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1 School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, No. 28, Xianning West Road, Xi’an 710049, China
2 Soochow Institute for Energy and Materials Innovations, College of Physics, Optoelectronics and Energy, Collaborative Innovation Center of Suzhou Nano Science and Technology, Key Laboratory of Advanced Carbon Materials and Wearable Energy Technologies of Jiangsu Province, Soochow University, Suzhou 215006, China
3 Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden, P.O. Box 270116, D-01171 Dresden, Germany
4 Centre of Polymer and Carbon Materials, Polish Academy of Sciences, M. Curie-Sklodowskiej 34, Zabrze 41-819, Poland
5 Polish Center for Technology Development (PORT), Ul. Stabłowicka 147, Wrocław 54-066, Poland
6 Institute of Environmental Technology, VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, 17. Listopadu 15, Ostrava 708 33, Czech Republic
§ Xiaoqin Yang, Huy Q. Ta, and Wei Li contributed equally

Keywords: in-situ transmission electron microscopy, Sn atoms, planar cluster, graphene, vacancy
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There is ongoing research in freestanding single-atom thick elemental metal patches, including those suspended in a two-dimensional (2D) material, due to their utility in providing new structural and energetic insight into novel metallic 2D systems. Graphene pores have shown promise as support systems for suspending such patches. This study explores the potential of Sn atoms to form freestanding stanene and/or Sn patches in graphene pores. Sn atoms were deposited on graphene, where they formed novel single-atom thick 2D planar clusters/patches (or membranes) ranging from 1 to 8 atoms within the graphene pores. Patches of three or more atoms adopted either a star-like or close-packed structural configuration. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were conducted to look at the cluster configurations and energetics (without the graphene matrix) and were found to deviate from experimental observations for 2D patches larger than five atoms. This was attributed to interfacial interactions between the graphene pore edges and Sn atoms. The presented findings help advance the development of single-atom thick 2D elemental metal membranes.
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In-situ observations of novel single-atom thick 2D tin membranes embedded in graphene. Nano Res.

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