Crystalline systems often lower their energy by atom displacements from regular high-symmetry lattice sites. We demonstrate that such symmetry lowering distortions can be visualized by ultrahigh resolution transmission electron microscopy even at single point defects. Experimental investigation of structural distortions at the monovacancy defects in suspended bilayers of hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) accompanied by first-principles calculations reveals a characteristic charge-induced pm symmetry configuration of boron vacancies. This symmetry breaking is caused by interlayer bond reconstruction across the bilayer h-BN at the negatively charged boron vacancy defects and results in local membrane bending at the defect site. This study confirms that boron vacancies are dominantly present in the h-BN membrane.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Physics and Astronomy