Triggering One-Dimensional Phase Transition with Defects at the Graphene Zigzag Edge

Qingming Deng, Jiong Zhao

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


One well-known argument about a one-dimensional (1D) system is that 1D phase transition at finite temperature cannot exist even though this concept depends on conditions such as range of interaction, external fields, and periodicity. Therefore, 1D systems usually have random fluctuations with intrinsic domain walls arising that naturally bring disorder during transition. Herein, we introduce a real 1D system in which artificially created defects can induce a well-defined ID phase transition. The dynamics of structural reconstructions at graphene zigzag edges are examined by in situ aberration-corrected transmission electron microscopy. Combined with an in-depth analysis by ab initio simulations and quantum chemical molecular dynamics, the complete defect induced 1D phase transition dynamics at graphene zigzag edge is clearly demonstrated and understood on the atomic scale. Further, following this phase transition scheme, graphene nanoribbons (GNR) with different edge symmetries can be fabricated and, according to our electronic structure and quantum transport calculations, a metal-insulator-semiconductor transition for ultrathin GNRs is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNano Letters
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)1244-1249
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Defect
  • Edge
  • Graphene
  • One-Dimensional
  • Phase Transition
  • Transport


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