Fabrication of Atomically Precise Nanopores in Hexagonal Boron Nitride
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Fabrication of Atomically Precise Nanopores in Hexagonal Boron Nitride

  • Author(s): Gilbert, S Matt
  • Dunn, Gabriel
  • Pham, Thang
  • Shevitski, Brian
  • Dimitrov, Edgar
  • Aloni, Shaul
  • Zettl, Alex
  • et al.

We demonstrate the fabrication of individual nanopores in hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) with atomically precise control of the pore size. Previous methods of pore production in other 2D materials create pores of irregular geometry with imprecise diameters. By taking advantage of the preferential growth of boron vacancies in hBN under electron beam irradiation, we are able to observe the pore growth via transmission electron microscopy, and terminate the process when the pore has reached its desired size. Careful control of beam conditions allows us to nucleate and grow individual triangular and hexagonal pores with diameters ranging from subnanometer to 6nm over a large area of suspended hBN using a conventional TEM. These nanopores could find application in molecular sensing, DNA sequencing, water desalination, and molecular separation. Furthermore, the chemical edge-groups along the hBN pores can be made entirely nitrogen terminated or faceted with boron-terminated edges, opening avenues for tailored functionalization and extending the applications of these hBN nanopores.

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