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Bottom-up Assembly of Nanoporous Graphene with Emergent Electronic States

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journal contribution
posted on 24.07.2020, 15:36 by Peter H. Jacobse, Ryan D. McCurdy, Jingwei Jiang, Daniel J. Rizzo, Gregory Veber, Paul Butler, Rafał Zuzak, Steven G. Louie, Felix R. Fischer, Michael F. Crommie
The incorporation of nanoscale pores into a sheet of graphene allows it to switch from an impermeable semimetal to a semiconducting nanosieve. Nanoporous graphenes are desirable for applications ranging from high-performance semiconductor device channels to atomically thin molecular sieve membranes, and their performance is highly dependent on the periodicity and reproducibility of pores at the atomic level. Achieving precise nanopore topologies in graphene using top-down lithographic approaches has proven to be challenging due to poor structural control at the atomic level. Alternatively, atomically precise nanometer-sized pores can be fabricated via lateral fusion of bottom-up synthesized graphene nanoribbons. This technique, however, typically requires an additional high temperature cross-coupling step following the nanoribbon formation that inherently yields poor lateral conjugation, resulting in 2D materials that are weakly connected both mechanically and electronically. Here, we demonstrate a novel bottom-up approach for forming fully conjugated nanoporous graphene through a single, mild annealing step following the initial polymer formation. We find emergent interface-localized electronic states within the bulk band gap of the graphene nanoribbon that hybridize to yield a dispersive two-dimensional low-energy band of states. We show that this low-energy band can be rationalized in terms of edge states of the constituent single-strand nanoribbons. The localization of these 2D states around pores makes this material particularly attractive for applications requiring electronically sensitive molecular sieves.