Two-dimensional layered Zintl phase by manipulating the crystal structure dimensionally

The discovery of new families of two-dimensional (2-D) layered materials beyond graphene has always attracted great attention, but recreating the honeycomb atomic lattice structure artificially with multi-components such as hexagonal boron nitride in the laboratory remains challenging. Junseong Song and peers from the Departments of Energy Science, Nanostructure Physics, Environmental Science and Materials Science in the Republic of Korea created an unprecedented Zintl phase framework in a Republic of Korea now released on Science Advances.

By staking sp2-hybridized honeycomb ZnSb layers and by dimensionally manipulating a crystal structure from the sp3-hybrid 3-D-ZnSb state, they built the material. Scientists of materials mixed structural analysis with theoretical calculations to create a stable and robust layered 2-D-ZnSb framework. This phenomenon of bi-dimensional polymorphism was not previously observed at ambient pressure in Zintl families. Therefore, the new work provides a rational design strategy to search and create new 2-D layered materials in various compounds. The new results will allow the unlimited expansion of 2-D libraries and their corresponding physical properties.

The advent of Dirac physics of graphene triggered an explosive interest in research on two-dimensional (2-D) materials with varied applications in electronics, magnetics, energy and chemistry to quantum physics. In comparison to 2-D nuclear crystals such as silicone, 2-D study is currently concentrated mainly on a few 2-D products comprising one or more nuclear layers exfoliated from their mother compounds. This can limit the growth technique of 2-D products to two exfoliation and chemical vapor deposition methods. To artificially generate a fresh 2-D material with a fresh synthetic strategy and form a range of material organizations, it is therefore extremely desirable to expand on 2-D materials research.

Transformation of a crystal structure in the discovery of new materials is a commonly acknowledged main factor. Where the structural phase transitions caused by temperature-pressure and electrostatic-doping are central to exploring a fresh crystal structure or changing the characteristics of 2-D materials. For instance, most transition metal dichalcogenides exhibit polymorphic phase transition to access inherently diverse properties including superconducting and topological states. The transition has led to promising applications including electronic homojunction, photonic memory devices and catalytic energy materials.

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