Van der Waals integration of silicene and hexagonal boron nitride
Silicene, the silicon analogue of graphene, consists of an atomically buckled honeycomb lattice of silicon atoms. Theory predicts exceptional electronic properties, including Dirac fermions and a topological spin Hall insulator phase. An important obstacle impeding exploration of such properties in electronic devices is the chemical sensitivity of silicene, hampering its incorporation in layer stacks. Here we show experimentally that epitaxial silicene and hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) can be stacked without perturbing the electronic properties of silicene. Intercalated silicene underneath epitaxial h-BN on ZrB 2 (0 0 0 1) substrate films is obtained by depositing Si atoms at room temperature. Using (angle resolved) photoelectron spectroscopy (ARPES, PES) and scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) we find that the intercalated silicene exhibits the same electronic properties as epitaxial silicene on ZrB 2 , while it resists oxidation in air up to several hours. This is an essential step towards the development of layer stacks that allow for fabrication of devices.