Instability and Spontaneous Reconstruction of Few-Monolayer Thick GaN Graphitic Structures

A. V. Kolobov, P. Fons, J. Tominaga, B. Hyot, B. André

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors are a very hot topic in solid state science and technology. In addition to van der Waals solids that can be easily formed into 2D layers, it was argued that single layers of nominally 3D tetrahedrally bonded semiconductors, such as GaN or ZnO, also become flat in the monolayer limit; the planar structure was also proposed for few-layers of such materials. In this work, using first-principles calculations, we demonstrate that contrary to the existing consensus the graphitic structure of few-layer GaN is unstable and spontaneously reconstructs into a structure that remains hexagonal in plane but with covalent interlayer bonds that form alternating octagonal and square (8|4 Haeckelite) rings with pronounced in-plane anisotropy. Of special interest is the transformation of the band gap from indirect in planar GaN toward direct in the Haeckelite phase, making Haeckelite few-layer GaN an appealing material for flexible nano-optoelectronics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4849-4856
Number of pages8
JournalNano Letters
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug 10
Externally publishedYes


  • few-monolayer GaN structure
  • geometry optimization
  • Haeckelite phase
  • indirect-to-direct gap transformation
  • instability of graphitic phase
  • phonon dispersion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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