Hexagonal Boron Nitride Crystal Growth from Iron, a Single Component Flux

Jiahan Li, Junyong Wang, Xiaotian Zhang, Christine Elias, Gaihua Ye, Dylan Evans, Goki Eda, Joan M. Redwing, Guillaume Cassabois, Bernard Gil, Pierre Valvin, Rui He, Bin Liu, James H. Edgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The highest quality hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) crystals are grown from molten solutions. For hBN crystal growth at atmospheric pressure, typically the solvent is a combination of two metals, one with a high boron solubility and the other to promote nitrogen solubility. In this study, we demonstrate that high-quality hBN crystals can be grown at atmospheric pressure using pure iron as a flux. The ability to produce excellent-quality hBN crystals using pure iron as a solvent is unexpected, given its low solubility for nitrogen. The properties of crystals produced with this flux matched the best values ever reported for hBN: a narrow Raman E2g vibration peak (7.6 cm-1) and strong phonon-assisted peaks in the photoluminescence spectra. To further test their quality, the hBN crytals were used as a substrate for WSe2 epitaxy. WSe2 was deposited with a low nucleation density, indicating the low defect density of the hBN. Lastly, the carrier tunneling through our hBN thin layers (3.5 nm) follows the Fowler-Nordheim model, with a barrier height of 3.7 eV, demonstrating hBN's superior electrical insulating properties. This ability to produce high-quality hBN crystals in such a simple, environmentally friendly and economical process will advance two-dimensional material research by enabling integrated devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7032-7039
Number of pages8
JournalACS nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 27 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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