Microscopic insight into the single step growth of in-plane heterostructures between graphene and hexagonal boron nitride

by T. H. Nguyen, D. Perilli, M. Cattelan, H. Liu, F. Sedona, N. A. Fox, C. Di Valentin and S. Agnoli
Nano Res., 2019, 12, pp 675-682 View at Publisher
DOI:  10.1007/s12274-019-2276-0

Graphene-h-BN hybrid nanostructures are grown in one step on the Pt(111) surface by ultra-high vacuum chemical vapor deposition using a single precursor, the dimethylamino borane complex. By varying the deposition conditions, different nanostructures ranging from a fully continuous hybrid monolayer to well-separated Janus nanodots can be obtained. The growth starts with heterogeneous nucleation on morphological defects such as Pt step edges and proceeds by the addition of small clusters formed by the decomposition of the dimethylamino borane complex. Scanning tunneling microscopy measurements indicate that a sharp zigzag in-plane boundary is formed when graphene grows aligned with the Pt substrate and consequently with the h-BN layer as well. When graphene is rotated by 30°, the graphene armchair edges are seamlessly connected to h-BN zigzag edges. This is confirmed by a thorough density functional theory (DFT) study. Angle resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) data suggests that both h-BN and graphene present the typical electronic structure of self-standing non-interacting materials.