First-principles approach to monitoring the band gap and magnetic state of a graphene nanoribbon via its vacancies

M. Topsakal, E. Aktürk, H. Sevinçli, S. Ciraci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Using first-principles plane-wave calculations we predict that electronic and magnetic properties of graphene nanoribbons can be modified by the defect-induced itinerant states. Structure optimization gives rise to significant reconstruction of atomic structure, which is in good agreement with transmission electron microscope images. The band gaps of armchair nanoribbons can be modified by hydrogen-saturated holes. The band-gap changes depend on the width of the ribbon as well as on the position of the hole relative to the edges of the ribbon. Defects due to periodically repeating vacancy or divacancies induce metallization as well as magnetization in nonmagnetic semiconducting nanoribbons due to the spin polarization of local defect states. Antiferromagnetic ground state of semiconducting zigzag ribbons can change to ferrimagnetic state upon creation of vacancy defects, which reconstruct and interact with edge states. Even more remarkable is that all these effects of vacancy defects are found to depend on their geometry and position relative to the edges. It is shown that these effects can, in fact, be realized without really creating defects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number235435
JournalPhysical Review B - Condensed Matter and Materials Physics
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


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