Mechanical and electronic properties of boron nitride nanosheets with graphene domains under strain

JS Lima and IS Oliveira and S Azevedo and A Freitas and CG Bezerra and LD Machado, RSC ADVANCES, 11, 35127-35140 (2021).

DOI: 10.1039/d1ra05831b

Hybrid structures comprised of graphene domains embedded in larger hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) nanosheets were first synthesized in 2013. However, the existing theoretical investigations on them have only considered relaxed structures. In this work, we use Density Functional Theory (DFT) and Molecular Dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the mechanical and electronic properties of this type of nanosheet under strain. Our results reveal that the Young's modulus of the hybrid sheets depends only on the relative concentration of graphene and h-BN in the structure, showing little dependence on the shape of the domain or the size of the structure for a given concentration. Regarding the tensile strength, we obtained higher values using triangular graphene domains. We find that the studied systems can withstand large strain values (between 15% and 22%) before fracture, which always begins at the weaker C-B bonds located at the interface between the two materials. Concerning the electronic properties, we find that by combining composition and strain, we can produce hybrid sheets with band gaps spanning an extensive range of values (between 1.0 eV and 3.5 eV). Our results also show that the band gap depends more on the composition than on the external strain, particularly for structures with low carbon concentration. The combination of atomic-scale thickness, high ultimate strain, and adjustable band gap suggests applications of h-BN nanosheets with graphene domains in wearable electronics.

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