Catalytic Growth of Ultralong Graphene Nanoribbons on Insulating Substrates

Bosai Lyu, Jiajun Chen, Shuo Lou, Can Li, Lu Qiu, Wengen Ouyang, Jingxu Xie, Izaac Mitchell, Tongyao Wu, Aolin Deng, Cheng Hu, Xianliang Zhou, Peiyue Shen, Saiqun Ma, Zhenghan Wu, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, Xiaoqun Wang, Qi Liang, Jinfeng JiaMichael Urbakh, Oded Hod*, Feng Ding*, Shiyong Wang*, Zhiwen Shi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) with widths of a few nanometers are promising candidates for future nanoelectronic applications due to their structurally tunable bandgaps, ultrahigh carrier mobilities, and exceptional stability. However, the direct growth of micrometer-long GNRs on insulating substrates, which is essential for the fabrication of nanoelectronic devices, remains an immense challenge. Here, the epitaxial growth of GNRs on an insulating hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) substrate through nanoparticle-catalyzed chemical vapor deposition is reported. Ultranarrow GNRs with lengths of up to 10 µm are synthesized. Remarkably, the as-grown GNRs are crystallographically aligned with the h-BN substrate, forming 1D moiré superlattices. Scanning tunneling microscopy reveals an average width of 2 nm and a typical bandgap of ≈1 eV for similar GNRs grown on conducting graphite substrates. Fully atomistic computational simulations support the experimental results and reveal a competition between the formation of GNRs and carbon nanotubes during the nucleation stage, and van der Waals sliding of the GNRs on the h-BN substrate throughout the growth stage. This study provides a scalable, single-step method for growing micrometer-long narrow GNRs on insulating substrates, thus opening a route to explore the performance of high-quality GNR devices and the fundamental physics of 1D moiré superlattices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2200956
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number28
StatePublished - 14 Jul 2022


  • carbon nanotubes
  • catalytic growth
  • graphene nanoribbons
  • hexagonal boron nitride
  • moiré superlattices
  • superlubricity


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