Two-Dimensional Transition Metal Honeycomb Realized: Hf on Ir(111)

Two-dimensional (2D) honeycomb systems made of elements with d electrons are rare. Here, we report the fabrication of a transition metal (TM) 2D layer, namely, hafnium crystalline layers on Ir(111). Experimental characterization reveals that the Hf layer has its own honeycomb lattice, morphologically identical to graphene. First-principles calculations provide evidence for directional bonding between adjacent Hf atoms, analogous to carbon atoms in graphene. Calculations further suggest that the freestanding Hf honeycomb could be ferromagnetic with magnetic moment μ/Hf = 1.46 μB. The realization and investigation of TM honeycomb layers extend the scope of 2D structures and could bring about novel properties for technological applications.