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From Two- to Three-Dimensional van der Waals Layered Structures of Boron Crystals: An Ab Initio Study

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-05-02, 08:13 authored by Dengfeng Li, QiQi Tang, Jia He, Bolin Li, Guangqian Ding, Chunbao Feng, Hangbo Zhou, Gang Zhang
A remarkable recent advancement has been the successful synthesis of two-dimensional boron monolayers on metal substrates. However, although up to 16 possible bulk allotropes of boron have been reported, none of them possess van der Waals (vdW) layered structures. In this work, starting from the experimentally synthesized monolayer boron sheet (β12 borophene), we explored the possibility for forming vdW layered bulk boron. We found that two β12 borophene sheets cannot form a stable vdW bilayer structure, as covalent-like B–B bonds are formed between them because of the peculiar bonding. Interestingly, when the covalently bonded bilayer borophene sheets are stacked on top of each other, three-dimensional (3D) layered structures are constructed via vdW interlayer interactions, rather than covalent. The 3D vdW layered structures were found to be dynamically stable. The interlayer binding energy is about 20 meV/Å2, which is close to the weakly bound graphene layers in graphite (∼16 meV/Å2). Furthermore, the density functional theory predicted electronic band structure testifies that these vdW bulk boron crystals can behave as good conductors. The insights obtained from this work suggest an opportunity to discover new vdW layered structures of bulk boron, which is expected to be crucial to numerous applications ranging from microelectronic devices to energy storage devices.