Predicting Two-Dimensional Silicon Carbide Monolayers
journal contributionposted on 27.10.2015, 00:00 by Zhiming Shi, Zhuhua Zhang, Alex Kutana, Boris I. Yakobson
Intrinsic semimetallicity of graphene and silicene largely limits their applications in functional devices. Mixing carbon and silicon atoms to form two-dimensional (2D) silicon carbide (SixC1–x) sheets is promising to overcome this issue. Using first-principles calculations combined with the cluster expansion method, we perform a comprehensive study on the thermodynamic stability and electronic properties of 2D SixC1–x monolayers with 0 ≤ x ≤ 1. Upon varying the silicon concentration, the 2D SixC1–x presents two distinct structural phases, a homogeneous phase with well dispersed Si (or C) atoms and an in-plane hybrid phase rich in SiC domains. While the in-plane hybrid structure shows uniform semiconducting properties with widely tunable band gap from 0 to 2.87 eV due to quantum confinement effect imposed by the SiC domains, the homogeneous structures can be semiconducting or remain semimetallic depending on a superlattice vector which dictates whether the sublattice symmetry is topologically broken. Moreover, we reveal a universal rule for describing the electronic properties of the homogeneous SixC1–x structures. These findings suggest that the 2D SixC1–x monolayers may present a new “family” of 2D materials, with a rich variety of properties for applications in electronics and optoelectronics.