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Doping transition-metal atoms in graphene for atomic-scale tailoring of electronic, magnetic, and quantum topological propert...

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205 to 214

Atomic-scale fabrication is an outstanding challenge and overarching goal for the nanoscience community. The practical implementation of moving and fixing atoms to a structure is non-trivial considering that one must spatially address the positioning of single atoms, provide a stabilizing scaffold to hold structures in place, and understand the details of their chemical bonding. Free-standing graphene offers a simplified platform for the development of atomic-scale fabrication and the focused electron beam in a scanning transmission electron microscope can be used to locally induce defects and sculpt the graphene. In this scenario, the graphene forms the stabilizing scaffold and the experimental question is whether a range of dopant atoms can be attached and incorporated into the lattice using a single technique and, from a theoretical perspective, we would like to know which dopants will create technologically interesting properties. Here, we demonstrate that the electron beam can be used to selectively and precisely insert a variety of transition metal atoms into graphene with highly localized control over the doping locations. We use first-principles density functional theory calculations with direct observation of the created structures to reveal the energetics of incorporating metal atoms into graphene and their magnetic, electronic, and quantum topological properties.