Catalytic Conversion of Hexagonal Boron Nitride to Graphene for In-Plane Heterostructures

Heterostructures of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) and graphene have attracted a great deal of attention for potential applications in 2D materials. Although several methods have been developed to produce this material through the partial substitution reaction of graphene, the reverse reaction has not been reported. Though the endothermic nature of this reaction might account for the difficulty and previous absence of such a process, we report herein a new chemical route in which the Pt substrate plays a catalytic role. We propose that this reaction proceeds through h-BN hydrogenation; subsequent graphene growth quickly replaces the initially etched region. Importantly, this conversion reaction enables the controlled formation of patterned in-plane graphene/h-BN heterostructures, without needing the commonly employed protecting mask, simply by using a patterned Pt substrate.