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Hexagonal boron nitride (h -BN) is often prepared by epitaxial growth on metals, and stability of the formed BN/metal interfaces in gaseous environment is a key issue for physicochemical properties of the BN overlayers. As an illustration here, the structural change of a BN/Ru(0001) interface upon exposure to O2 has been investigated using in situ photoemission electron microscopy (PEEM) and ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (AP-XPS). We demonstrate the occurrence of oxygen intercalation of the BN overlayers in O2 atmosphere, which decouples the BN overlayer from the substrate. Comparative studies of oxygen intercalation at BN/Ru(0001) and graphene/Ru(0001) surfaces indicate that the oxygen intercalation of BN overlayers happens more easily than graphene. This finding will be of importance for future applications of BN-based devices and materials under ambient conditions.

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Publication history

Received: 21 October 2014
Revised: 06 November 2014
Accepted: 10 November 2014
Published: 16 December 2014
Issue date: January 2015

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© Tsinghua University Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 21222305, 21373208, and 21033009), Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Nos. 2011CB932704 and 2013CB834603), and the Key Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The ALS and the MES beamline 11.0.2 are supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences, and Biosciences and Materials Sciences Division of the US Department of Energy at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231.

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Reprints and Permission requests may be sought directly from editorial office.
Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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