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Concentration Dependence of Dopant Electronic Structure in Bottom-up Graphene Nanoribbons.


Bottom-up fabrication techniques enable atomically precise integration of dopant atoms into the structure of graphene nanoribbons (GNRs). Such dopants exhibit perfect alignment within GNRs and behave differently from bulk semiconductor dopants. The effect of dopant concentration on the electronic structure of GNRs, however, remains unclear despite its importance in future electronics applications. Here we use scanning tunneling microscopy and first-principles calculations to investigate the electronic structure of bottom-up synthesized N = 7 armchair GNRs featuring varying concentrations of boron dopants. First-principles calculations of freestanding GNRs predict that the inclusion of boron atoms into a GNR backbone should induce two sharp dopant states whose energy splitting varies with dopant concentration. Scanning tunneling spectroscopy experiments, however, reveal two broad dopant states with an energy splitting greater than expected. This anomalous behavior results from an unusual hybridization between the dopant states and the Au(111) surface, with the dopant-surface interaction strength dictated by the dopant orbital symmetry.

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