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Title: Investigations into the interfacial interaction of graphene with hexagonal boron nitride
Author: Woods, Colin
ISNI:       0000 0004 6496 1679
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis, submitted to the University of Manchester, covers a range of topics related to current research in two-dimensional materials under the title: 'Investigations into the interfacial interaction of graphene with hexagonal boron nitride.'In the last decade, two-dimensional materials have become a rich source of original research and potential applications. The main advantage lies in the ability to produce novel composite structures, so-called 'layered heterostructures', which are only a few atomic layers thick. One can utilise the unique properties of several species of crystal separately, or how they interact to realise a diverse range of uses. Two such crystals are graphene and hexagonal boron nitride. Hexagonal boron nitride has, so far, been used primarily as a substrate for graphene, allowing researchers to get the most out of graphene's impressive individual properties. However, in this thesis, the non-trivial van der Waals interaction between graphene and hexagonal boron nitride is examined. The interface potential reveals itself as a relatively large-scale, orientation-dependant superlattice, which is described in chapters 1 and 2.I In Chapter 4, the effect of this superlattice is examined by measurement of its effect upon the electrons in graphene, where its modulation leads to the creation of second and third generation Dirac points, revealing Hofstadter's Butterfly. As well as an excellent example of the physics possible with graphene, it also presents a new tool with which to create novel devices possessing tailored electronic properties. II In chapter 5, the consequential effect of the superlattice potential on the structure of graphene is studied. Results are discussed within the framework of the Frenkel-Kontorova model for a chain of atoms on a static background potential. Results are consistent with relaxation of the graphene structure leading to the formation of a commensurate ground state. This has exciting consequences for the production of heterostructures by demonstrating that alignment angle can have large effects upon the physical properties of the crystals. III In chapter 6, the van der Waals potential is shown to be responsible for the self-alignment of the two crystals. This effect is important for the fabrication of perfectly aligned devices and may lead to new applications based on nanoscale motion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Atomic force microscopy ; Macroscopic Reorientation ; Frenkel-Kontorova Model ; Incommensurate ; Commensurate ; Raman spectroscopy ; Hofstadter’s butterfly ; Superlattice ; 2D materials ; Van der Waals Adhesion ; Hexagonal boron nitride ; graphene ; Moire