Formation of an Extended Quantum Dot Array Driven and Autoprotected by an Atom-Thick h-BN Layer

Joel Deyerling, Ignacio Piquero-Zulaica, Mustafa A. Ashoush, Knud Seufert, Mohammad A. Kher-Elden, Zakaria M. Abd El-Fattah, Willi Auwärter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Engineering quantum phenomena of two-dimensional nearly free electron states has been at the forefront of nanoscience studies ever since the first creation of a quantum corral. Common strategies to fabricate confining nanoarchitectures rely on manipulation or on applying supramolecular chemistry principles. The resulting nanostructures do not protect the engineered electronic states against external influences, hampering the potential for future applications. These restrictions could be overcome by passivating the nanostructures with a chemically inert layer. To this end we report a scalable segregation-based growth approach forming extended quasi-hexagonal nanoporous CuS networks on Cu(111) whose assembly is driven by an autoprotecting h-BN overlayer. We further demonstrate that by this architecture both the Cu(111) surface state and image potential states of the h-BN/CuS heterostructure are confined within the nanopores, effectively forming an extended array of quantum dots. Semiempirical electron-plane-wave-expansion simulations shed light on the scattering potential landscape responsible for the modulation of the electronic properties. The protective properties of the h-BN capping are tested under various conditions, representing an important step toward the realization of robust surface state based electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5448-5458
Number of pages11
JournalACS Nano
Issue number6
StatePublished - 28 Mar 2023


  • 2D materials
  • assembly
  • h-BN
  • image potential state
  • quantum dot
  • scanning tunneling microscopy
  • surface state


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