Atomic-scale imaging of few-layer black phosphorus and its reconstructed edge

Yangjin Lee, Jun Yeong Yoon, Declan Scullion, Jeongsu Jang, Elton J.G. Santos, Hu Young Jeong, Kwanpyo Kim

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Black phosphorus (BP) has recently emerged as an alternative 2D semiconductor owing to its fascinating electronic properties such as tunable bandgap and high charge carrier mobility. The structural investigation of few-layer BP, such as identification of layer thickness and atomic-scale edge structure, is of great importance to fully understand its electronic and optical properties. Here we report atomic-scale analysis of few-layered BP performed by aberration corrected transmission electron microscopy (TEM). We establish the layer-number-dependent atomic resolution imaging of few-layer BP via TEM imaging and image simulations. The structural modification induced by the electron beam leads to revelation of crystalline edge and formation of BP nanoribbons. Atomic resolution imaging of BP clearly shows the reconstructed zigzag (ZZ) edge structures, which is also corroborated by van der Waals first principles calculations on the edge stability. Our study on the precise identification of BP thickness and atomic-resolution imaging of edge structures will lay the groundwork for investigation of few-layer BP, especially BP in nanostructured forms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number084003
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 30

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work is supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2014R1A1A2058178). HYJ was supported by Creative Materials Discovery Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (NRF-2016M3D1A1900035). DS thanks the studentship from the EPSRC-DTP award. EJGS acknowledges the use of computational resources from the UK national high performance computing service, ARCHER, for which access was obtained via the UKCP consortium and funded by EPSRC grant ref EP/K013564/1; and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), supported by NSF grants number TG-DMR120049 and TGDMR150017. The Queens Fellow Award through the startup grant number M8407MPH is also acknowledged.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 IOP Publishing Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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