Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Previously Published Works bannerUC Berkeley

Spin splitting of dopant edge state in magnetic zigzag graphene nanoribbons


Spin-ordered electronic states in hydrogen-terminated zigzag nanographene give rise to magnetic quantum phenomena1,2 that have sparked renewed interest in carbon-based spintronics3,4. Zigzag graphene nanoribbons (ZGNRs)-quasi one-dimensional semiconducting strips of graphene bounded by parallel zigzag edges-host intrinsic electronic edge states that are ferromagnetically ordered along the edges of the ribbon and antiferromagnetically coupled across its width1,2,5. Despite recent advances in the bottom-up synthesis of GNRs featuring symmetry protected topological phases6-8 and even metallic zero mode bands9, the unique magnetic edge structure of ZGNRs has long been obscured from direct observation by a strong hybridization of the zigzag edge states with the surface states of the underlying support10-15. Here, we present a general technique to thermodynamically stabilize and electronically decouple the highly reactive spin-polarized edge states by introducing a superlattice of substitutional N-atom dopants along the edges of a ZGNR. First-principles GW calculations and scanning tunnelling spectroscopy reveal a giant spin splitting of low-lying nitrogen lone-pair flat bands by an exchange field (~850 tesla) induced by the ferromagnetically ordered edge states of ZGNRs. Our findings directly corroborate the nature of the predicted emergent magnetic order in ZGNRs and provide a robust platform for their exploration and functional integration into nanoscale sensing and logic devices15-21.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View