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Carbon atoms moving at the edge of a hole in graphene

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Published on Mar 26, 2009

From the paper Science 27 March 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5922, pp. 1705 - 1708 DOI: 10.1126/science.1166999, "Graphene at the Edge: Stability and Dynamics," Çağlar Ö. Girit, Jannik C. Meyer, Rolf Erni, Marta D. Rossell, C. Kisielowski, Li Yang, Cheol-Hwan Park, M. F. Crommie, Marvin L. Cohen, Steven G. Louie, A. Zettl

The movie shows a high-resolution transmission electron microscopy study of the structure and dynamics of graphene at the edge of a hole in a suspended, single atomic layer of graphene. The injection of electrons causes ejection of carbon atoms, leading to rearrangement of the bonds at the edges into a zigzag configuration, which represents the most stable form.

Although the physics of materials at surfaces and edges has been extensively studied, the movement of individual atoms at an isolated edge has not been directly observed in real time. With a transmission electron aberrationcorrected microscope capable of simultaneous atomic spatial resolution and 1-second temporal resolution, we produced movies of the dynamics of carbon atoms at the edge of a hole in a suspended, single atomic layer of graphene. The rearrangement of bonds and beam-induced ejection of carbon atoms are recorded as the hole grows. We investigated the mechanism of edge reconstruction and demonstrated the stability of the "zigzag" edge configuration. This study of an ideal low-dimensional interface, a hole in graphene, exhibits the complex behavior of atoms at a boundary.

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