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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Atomically thin half-van der Waals metals enabled by confinement heteroepitaxy.


Atomically thin two-dimensional (2D) metals may be key ingredients in next-generation quantum and optoelectronic devices. However, 2D metals must be stabilized against environmental degradation and integrated into heterostructure devices at the wafer scale. The high-energy interface between silicon carbide and epitaxial graphene provides an intriguing framework for stabilizing a diverse range of 2D metals. Here we demonstrate large-area, environmentally stable, single-crystal 2D gallium, indium and tin that are stabilized at the interface of epitaxial graphene and silicon carbide. The 2D metals are covalently bonded to SiC below but present a non-bonded interface to the graphene overlayer; that is, they are 'half van der Waals' metals with strong internal gradients in bonding character. These non-centrosymmetric 2D metals offer compelling opportunities for superconducting devices, topological phenomena and advanced optoelectronic properties. For example, the reported 2D Ga is a superconductor that combines six strongly coupled Ga-derived electron pockets with a large nearly free-electron Fermi surface that closely approaches the Dirac points of the graphene overlayer.

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