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Magic behavior of low-dimensional nanostructures

May 26, 2021 @ 8:00 am - 9:00 am

Speaker: David Tománek, Physics and Astronomy, Michigan State University

Zoom details:

Abstract: Like in a magic trick, atomically thin layers of specific materials can be mixed and stacked in a well-defined way. Due to the inter-layer interaction and charge transfer, the heterostructure may exhibit sometimes unexpected behavior. This occurs in the case of elemental boron, which is notorious for a large number of stable allotropes not only in 3D bulk, but also in 2D. We find that a previously unknown 2D ε–B allotrope converts stepwise to a stable honeycomb structure when doped with electrons, resembling a magic conversion of boron to carbon atoms that carry one more valence electron [1]. As seen in Fig. 1(b), sufficient extra charge to initiate this transition may be provided when 2D boron is brought into contact with the 2D electride Ca2N. A different apparent example of magic involves the previously overlooked twist degree of freedom in 2D structures like bilayer graphene, which changes the Moiré pattern, as shown in the left panel of Fig. 1(c). Recent theoretical and experimental evidence suggests that the electronic structure near the Fermi level of twisted bilayer graphene (TBLG) depends extremely sensitively on the twist angle θ. Near the magic angle value θm≈1.08°, a flat band emerges at EF, separated from conduction and valence states by energy gaps. This unexpected behaviour likely provides valuable insight into electron correlation and superconductivity in 2D systems. Even though TBLG and related non-periodic structures can not be treated by standard band structure theory, their electronic structure can be interpreted quantitatively using a parameterized model [2] that can be simply extended to consider also other deformations including shear [3].

This study was partly supported by the NSF/AFOSR EFRI 2-DARE grant number #EFMA1433459.

[1] Dan Liu and David Tománek, Effect of Net Charge on the Relative Stability of 2D Boron Allotropes, Nano Lett. 19, 1359-1365 (2019).
[2] Xianqing Lin and David Tománek, Minimum model for the electronic structure of twisted bilayer graphene and related structures, Phys. Rev. B. 98, 081410(R) (2018).
[3] Xianqing Lin, Dan Liu and David Tománek, Shear instability in twisted bilayer graphene, Phys. Rev. B. 98, 195432 (2018).

Figure 1: (a) Card magic illustrating the van der Waals assembly of 2D materials to a functional nanostructure. (b) Conversion of a 2D boron monolayer to a honeycomb lattice due to electron doping provided by a 2D electride. (c) Unusual changes in the electronic structure of twisted bilayer graphene near the magic twist angle θm≈1.08°.

Speaker bio: David Tománek studied Physics in Switzerland and received his Ph.D. from the Free University in Berlin. While holding a position as Assistant Professor of Physics in Berlin, he got engaged in theoretical research in Nanostructures at the AT&T Bell Laboratories and the University of California at Berkeley. He established the field of Computational Nanotechnology at Michigan State University, where he holds a position as Full Professor of Physics. His scientific expertise lies in the development and application of numerical techniques for structural, electronic and optical properties of surfaces, low dimensional systems and nanostructures. Since he was working on his PhD Thesis, he promoted the use of computer simulations to understand atomic-level processes at surfaces and in atomic clusters. Witnessed in several hundred publications and invited talks are his results on the electronic structure, mechanical, thermal, and optical properties, as well as quantum conductance of nanostructures. His contributions to Computational Nanotechnology, in particular in the field of fullerenes and nanotubes, have been rewarded by a Fellowship of the American Physical Society, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation Distinguished Senior Scientist Award and the Japan Carbon Award for Life-Time Achievement.


May 26, 2021
8:00 am - 9:00 am


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