Germanene: a novel two-dimensional Germanium allotrope akin to Graphene and Silicene

New Journal Of Physics 16, 095002 (2014)

Germanene: a novel two-dimensional Germanium allotrope akin to Graphene and Silicene

M.E. Dávila, L. Xian, S. Cahangirov, A. Rubio, G. Le Lay

Using a gold (111) surface as a substrate we have grown in situ by molecular beam epitaxy an atom-thin, ordered, two-dimensional multi-phase film. Its growth bears strong similarity with the formation of silicene layers on silver (111) templates. One of the phases, forming large domains, as observed in Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, shows a clear, nearly flat, honeycomb structure. Thanks to thorough synchrotron radiation core-level spectroscopy measurements and advanced Density Functional Theory calculations we can identify it to a √3x√3R(30°) germanene layer in coincidence with a √7x√7R(19.1°) Au(111) supercell, thence, presenting the first compelling evidence of the birth of a novel synthetic germanium-based cousin of graphene.

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Drs F Cheynis, D Chiappe, A Ranguis and A Resta are warmly acknowledged for their contributions to the measurements. We are grateful to Dr M Radović and Dr R S Dhaka at Swiss Light Source and I Vobornik at the Italian synchrotron radiation source Elettra, whose outstanding efforts made these experiments possible. Funding from the 2D-NANOLATTICES project within the 7th Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission, under FET-Open grant number 270749 is greatly appreciated. We acknowledge support from the European Research Council Advanced Grant DYNamo (ERC-2010-AdG-267374), Grupos Consolidados UPV/EHU del Gobierno Vasco (IT-578-13) and European Commission project CRONOS (grant number 280879-2).

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