City University of Hong Kong researchers have long studied the strength and stretchability of graphene, but now the team has turned its attention towards hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN), another 2-dimensional material known as “white graphene”, according to Phys.org.
The team has discovered the material is highly elastic and tolerant of defects, which could pave the way for development in areas like strain engineering and flexible electronics.
White graphene is similar in structure to standard graphene, with a slight lattice variance and an ultra-flat service that makes it an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. The team has, for the first time, successfully performed quantitative tensile straining on freestanding monolayer h-BN, showing its elasticity remained fully recoverable up to 6.2%.
They also discovered h-BN was more fault tolerant than previously thought, with monolayer h-BN able to be strained up to 5.8%, even if the layer contained voids up to around 100 nanometers in size.
“For the first time, we demonstrated the high stiffness and large uniform elastic deformation of monolayer h-BN. The encouraging results not only contribute to the development of h-BN applications in strain engineering, piezoelectronics and flexible electronics, but also propose a new way to improve the performance of 2-D composites and devices. They also provide a powerful tool to explore the mechanical properties of other 2-D materials,” said Dr. Lu Yang, associate professor of the mechanical engineering department at CityU Hong Kong.
The team’s findings were recently published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.