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Graphene at the Edge

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Graphene is a surprisingly stable, two-dimensional layer of carbon atoms bonded in a hexagonal lattice that may have important nanomaterial applications. Yet its actual electronic properties, crucial to those applications, depend critically on how the material behaves at defects and edges, about which little is known. Girit et al. used the Transmission Electron Abberation-corrected Microscope (TEAM) to observe the expansion of a hole in a graphene lattice on the order of seconds (first movie); the white dots on the corners of hexagons in the movie are individual carbon atoms. The team observed that edge reconstruction around the hole was stabilized by “zigzag” edge configuration, and demonstrated similar edge dynamics in a kinetic model (second movie).

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