Macroscopic self-reorientation of interacting two-dimensional crystals.
Ben Shalom, M
van Wijk, MM
Nature Publishing Group
This is the author accepted manuscript of an open access article. Available from Nature via the DOI in this record. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Microelectromechanical systems, which can be moved or rotated with nanometre precision, already find applications in such fields as radio-frequency electronics, micro-attenuators, sensors and many others. Especially interesting are those which allow fine control over the motion on the atomic scale because of self-alignment mechanisms and forces acting on the atomic level. Such machines can produce well-controlled movements as a reaction to small changes of the external parameters. Here we demonstrate that, for the system of graphene on hexagonal boron nitride, the interplay between the van der Waals and elastic energies results in graphene mechanically self-rotating towards the hexagonal boron nitride crystallographic directions. Such rotation is macroscopic (for graphene flakes of tens of micrometres the tangential movement can be on hundreds of nanometres) and can be used for reproducible manufacturing of aligned van der Waals heterostructures.
This work was supported by The Royal Society, U.S. Army, European Research Council, EC-FET European Graphene Flagship, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK), U.S. Office of Naval Research, U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research, FOM (The Netherlands). S.V.M. is supported by NUST "MISiS" (grant K1-2015-046) and RFBR (14-02-00792). M. J. Zhu acknowledges the National University of Defense Technology (China) overseas PhD student scholarship.
Vol. 7, Article number: 10800
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