Atomic-Level Structural Engineering of Graphene on a Mesoscopic Scale

A Trentino and J Madsen and A Mittelberger and C Mangler and T Susi and K Mustonen and J Kotakoski, NANO LETTERS, 21, 5179-5185 (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c01214

Structural engineering is the first step toward changing properties of materials. While this can be at relative ease done for bulk materials, for example, using ion irradiation, similar engineering of 2D materials and other low-dimensional structures remains a challenge. The difficulties range from the preparation of clean and uniform samples to the sensitivity of these structures to the overwhelming task of sample- wide characterization of the subjected modifications at the atomic scale. Here, we overcome these issues using a near ultrahigh vacuum system comprised of an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope and setups for sample cleaning and manipulation, which are combined with automated atomic-resolution imaging of large sample areas and a convolutional neural network approach for image analysis. This allows us to create and fully characterize atomically clean free-standing graphene with a controlled defect distribution, thus providing the important first step toward atomically tailored two- dimensional materials.

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