Origin of band gaps in graphene on hexagonal boron nitride

Jeil Jung, Ashley M. Dasilva, Allan H. Macdonald, Shaffique Adam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

254 Scopus citations


Recent progress in preparing well-controlled two-dimensional van der Waals heterojunctions has opened up a new frontier in materials physics. Here we address the intriguing energy gaps that are sometimes observed when a graphene sheet is placed on a hexagonal boron nitride substrate, demonstrating that they are produced by an interesting interplay between structural and electronic properties, including electronic many-body exchange interactions. Our theory is able to explain the observed gap behaviour by accounting first for the structural relaxation of graphene's carbon atoms when placed on a boron nitride substrate, and then for the influence of the substrate on low-energy π-electrons located at relaxed carbon atom sites. The methods we employ can be applied to many other van der Waals heterojunctions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6308
JournalNature Communications
StatePublished - Feb 2015


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