Research Topic

Layered Crystals: Surfaces, Interfaces, and Heterostructures

About this Research Topic

Layered crystals are highly two-dimensional materials characterized by strong interlayer coupling and weak, typically van der Waals, bonding between layers. This two-dimensional character gives rise to a variety of novel electronic and magnetic states. The systems are highly tunable by incorporating ions or even molecules within the van der Waals gaps between each layer and dimensional confinement, reducing layer thickness to a few or just one molecular layer, which can induce new emergent properties. The quantum states exhibited by these materials, combined with the ability to tune their properties by changing their chemical composition and/or dimensional scale have made layered crystals the centerpiece of condensed matter physics for decades.

Interactions at the surface of these materials are critical for several reasons. In finite layer form, they naturally dominate system properties. They are also central to the study of van der Waals heterostructures in which different types of layered crystals are stacked as well as their incorporation into any device architecture.
Determining surface interactions is non-trivial, in large part because they are so weak. Van der Waals interactions at the surface naturally lead to physisorption or other dipole interactions rather than bonding with covalent or ionic characteristics. This leads to interesting features when layered crystals are used as substrates, including high surface mobility and allowing deposited materials to readily self-organize. The surfaces can exhibit catalytic behavior as well. Recently, investigations have expanded into low dimensional magnetic states and the potential for these materials in spintronics applications.

The study of surface characteristics of layered crystals spans the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and material science. The topic encompasses a range of experimental and theoretical investigations, which could range, for example, from fundamental surface properties to device engineering. Research into the influence of dimensional confinement on electronic or magnetic features found on these surfaces or interfaces is especially of interest. We look forward to contributions encompassing this important area of condensed matter physics and welcome both Original Research and high-level Reviews of the current literature as well.

Research into layered crystals has been highly important to condensed matter physics for decades. This spans nearly every novel area in the field: topological insulators, valleytronics, unconventional superconductors, and other correlated systems. Currently, there has been much excitement concerning low dimensional magnetic states. One of the great challenges for these materials is how to eventually integrate them into some form of device. We are very interested in promoting foundational research in this area, with a focus on fundamental research into the surface and interfacial properties of layered systems.

In this Research Topic, we welcome Original Research, Reviews as well as Brief Research Reports, covering the following:

• Research into bulk and nanoscale layered materials
• Focus Areas:
  o Systems with novel phases or other characteristics
  o Characteristics related to reduced dimensionality, e.g. 2D magnetism
  o Studies of Surfaces, interfaces, and heterostructures.


Keywords: Surfacescience, Nanoscience, Van der Waals surfaces, Layered materials, Interfaces, Finite layer materials, Heterostructures


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Layered crystals are highly two-dimensional materials characterized by strong interlayer coupling and weak, typically van der Waals, bonding between layers. This two-dimensional character gives rise to a variety of novel electronic and magnetic states. The systems are highly tunable by incorporating ions or even molecules within the van der Waals gaps between each layer and dimensional confinement, reducing layer thickness to a few or just one molecular layer, which can induce new emergent properties. The quantum states exhibited by these materials, combined with the ability to tune their properties by changing their chemical composition and/or dimensional scale have made layered crystals the centerpiece of condensed matter physics for decades.

Interactions at the surface of these materials are critical for several reasons. In finite layer form, they naturally dominate system properties. They are also central to the study of van der Waals heterostructures in which different types of layered crystals are stacked as well as their incorporation into any device architecture.
Determining surface interactions is non-trivial, in large part because they are so weak. Van der Waals interactions at the surface naturally lead to physisorption or other dipole interactions rather than bonding with covalent or ionic characteristics. This leads to interesting features when layered crystals are used as substrates, including high surface mobility and allowing deposited materials to readily self-organize. The surfaces can exhibit catalytic behavior as well. Recently, investigations have expanded into low dimensional magnetic states and the potential for these materials in spintronics applications.

The study of surface characteristics of layered crystals spans the disciplines of physics, chemistry, and material science. The topic encompasses a range of experimental and theoretical investigations, which could range, for example, from fundamental surface properties to device engineering. Research into the influence of dimensional confinement on electronic or magnetic features found on these surfaces or interfaces is especially of interest. We look forward to contributions encompassing this important area of condensed matter physics and welcome both Original Research and high-level Reviews of the current literature as well.

Research into layered crystals has been highly important to condensed matter physics for decades. This spans nearly every novel area in the field: topological insulators, valleytronics, unconventional superconductors, and other correlated systems. Currently, there has been much excitement concerning low dimensional magnetic states. One of the great challenges for these materials is how to eventually integrate them into some form of device. We are very interested in promoting foundational research in this area, with a focus on fundamental research into the surface and interfacial properties of layered systems.

In this Research Topic, we welcome Original Research, Reviews as well as Brief Research Reports, covering the following:

• Research into bulk and nanoscale layered materials
• Focus Areas:
  o Systems with novel phases or other characteristics
  o Characteristics related to reduced dimensionality, e.g. 2D magnetism
  o Studies of Surfaces, interfaces, and heterostructures.


Keywords: Surfacescience, Nanoscience, Van der Waals surfaces, Layered materials, Interfaces, Finite layer materials, Heterostructures


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

12 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

12 December 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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