2D materials

Atomic force micrograph of atomically thin h-BN islands grown on epitaxial graphene

Graphene and other two-dimensional (2D) materials are promising building blocks for the fabrication of novel, atomically thin devices for future applications. In addition, combining them to form the so-called van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures enables novel, promising phenomena which are not observed in the single materials. For instance, in heterostacks composed of graphene and hexagonal BN (h-BN) layers the band structure of graphene can in principle be engineered via the design of stacking characteristics such as number of layers as well as crystallographic alignment.


For technological implementation, it is mandatory to synthesize these material systems with high precision, in particular sub-monolayer thickness control, in a scalable way—i.e. differently than by working with exfoliated, micrometer-sized flakes. Therefore, our activity mainly focuses on the epitaxial growth of graphene and h-BN, as well as of vdW heterostructures combining them. Recently, we also started integrating Te-based 2D materials exhibiting semiconducting and magnetic properties with graphene and h-BN into vdW heterostacks. Beyond the envisioned benefits for applications, epitaxial growth of 2D crystals is a rich research field in its own right, as nucleation and growth may not follow the traditional routes of epitaxy.


Molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) is employed by us to obtain controlled, large-area growth of these materials. In addition to graphene, we perform MBE of atomically thin h-BN films. The latter have been successfully employed as encapsulation layers for other 2D materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides, as well as large-area templates hosting luminescent defects acting as single photon emitters. Furthermore, MBE growth of vdW-bonded systems such as h-BN/graphene and Sb2Te3/graphene is also under investigation. Fundamental growth studies have already allowed us to identify unconventional phenomena such as defect-mediated nucleation and coincident-site lattice matching happening in vdW epitaxy. Such effects influence interlayer interactions, strain, and stacking order between the dissimilar 2D materials, which in turn directly affect the properties and functionalities of the material system.


Beyond MBE, we also fabricate epitaxial graphene on SiC via surface graphitization. This type of sample is used as a 2D template to perform growth studies of different materials on graphene such as h-BN (as mentioned above), GaN nanowires, and thin films of the semiconducting oxides NiO and In2O3. The high crystalline quality, inertness, and atomic flatness of epitaxial graphene on SiC make it an ideal substrate for the development of growth protocols for vdW epitaxy.

Selected Publications

5 Author M. Heilmann , A. S. Prikhodko , M. Hanke , A. Sabelfeld , N. I. Borgardt , J. M. J. Lopes

Influence of Proximity to Supporting Substrate on van der Waals Epitaxy of Atomically Thin Graphene/hexagonal Boron Nitride Heterostructures

Source ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces , 12 , 8897 ( 2020 )
DOI : 10.1021/acsami.9b21490 | 3155 Cite : Bibtex RIS
M. Heilmann, A. S. Prikhodko, M. Hanke, A. Sabelfeld, N. I. Borgardt, and J. M. J. Lopes

4 Author S. Nakhaie , M. Heilmann , T. Krause , M. Hanke , J. M. J. Lopes

Nucleation and growth of atomically thin hexagonal boron nitride on Ni/MgO(111) by molecular beam epitaxy

Source J. Appl. Phys. , 125 , 115301 ( 2019 )
DOI : 10.1063/1.5081806 | Download: PDF | 3074 Cite : Bibtex RIS
S. Nakhaie, M. Heilmann, T. Krause, M. Hanke, and J. M. J. Lopes

3 Author E. Courtade , B. Han , S.Nakhaie , C. Robert , X. Marie , P. Renucci , T. Taniguchi , K. Watanabe , L. Geelhaar , J. M. J. Lopes , B. Urbaszek

Spectrally narrow exciton luminescence from monolayer MoS2 and MoSe2 exfoliated onto epitaxially grown hexagonal BN

Source Appl. Phys. Lett. , 113 , 032106 ( 2018 )
DOI : 10.1063/1.5033554 | Download: PDF | 3051 Cite : Bibtex RIS
E. Courtade, B. Han, S.Nakhaie, C. Robert, X. Marie, P. Renucci, T. Taniguchi, K. Watanabe, L. Geelhaar, J. M. J. Lopes, and B. Urbaszek

2 Author A. Hernández-Mínguez , J. Lähnemann , S. Nakhaie , J. M. J. Lopes , P. V. Santos

Luminescent Defects in a Few-Layer h-BN Film Grown by Molecular Beam Epitaxy

Source Phys. Rev. Appl. , 10 , 044031 ( 2018 )
DOI : 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.10.044031 | Download arXiv: 1902.08528 | 3037 Cite : Bibtex RIS
A. Hernández-Mínguez, J. Lähnemann, S. Nakhaie, J. M. J. Lopes, and P. V. Santos

1 Author M. Heilmann , M. Bashouti , H. Riechert , J. M. J. Lopes

Defect mediated van der Waals epitaxy of hexagonal boron nitride on graphene

Source 2D Mater. , 5 , 025004 ( 2018 )
DOI : 10.1088/2053-1583/aaa4cb | 2962 Cite : Bibtex RIS
M. Heilmann, M. Bashouti, H. Riechert, and J. M. J. Lopes


Dr. Lutz Geelhaar

Head of Department

+49 30 20377-359