Article | Published:

Epitaxial growth of two-dimensional stanene

Nature Materials volume 14, pages 10201025 (2015) | Download Citation


Following the first experimental realization of graphene, other ultrathin materials with unprecedented electronic properties have been explored, with particular attention given to the heavy group-IV elements Si, Ge and Sn. Two-dimensional buckled Si-based silicene has been recently realized by molecular beam epitaxy growth, whereas Ge-based germanene was obtained by molecular beam epitaxy and mechanical exfoliation. However, the synthesis of Sn-based stanene has proved challenging so far. Here, we report the successful fabrication of 2D stanene by molecular beam epitaxy, confirmed by atomic and electronic characterization using scanning tunnelling microscopy and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, in combination with first-principles calculations. The synthesis of stanene and its derivatives will stimulate further experimental investigation of their theoretically predicted properties, such as a 2D topological insulating behaviour with a very large bandgap, and the capability to support enhanced thermoelectric performance, topological superconductivity and the near-room-temperature quantum anomalous Hall effect.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    , , , & Two-dimensional materials from data filtering and ab initio calculations. Phys. Rev. X 3, 031002 (2013).

  2. 2.

    et al. Large-gap quantum spin Hall insulators in tin films. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 136804 (2013).

  3. 3.

    , & Low-energy effective Hamiltonian involving spin-orbit coupling in silicene and two-dimensional germanium and tin. Phys. Rev. B 84, 195430 (2011).

  4. 4.

    , & Honeycomb lattice with multiorbital structure: Topological and quantum anomalous Hall insulators with large gaps. Phys. Rev. B 90, 075114 (2014).

  5. 5.

    , & Enhanced thermoelectric performance and anomalous Seebeck effects in topological insulators. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 226801 (2014).

  6. 6.

    , & Two-dimensional time-reversal-invariant topological superconductivity in a doped quantum spin-Hall insulator. Phys. Rev. B 90, 054503 (2014).

  7. 7.

    , & Prediction of near-room-temperature quantum anomalous Hall effect on honeycomb materials. Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 256401 (2014).

  8. 8.

    et al. Silicene: Compelling experimental evidence for graphene like two-dimensional silicon. Phys. Rev. Lett. 108, 155501 (2012).

  9. 9.

    et al. Various atomic structures of monolayer silicene fabricated on Ag(111). New J. Phys. 16, 075006 (2014).

  10. 10.

    , , , & Germanene: A novel two-dimensional germanium allotrope akin to graphene and silicene. New J. Phys. 16, 095002 (2014).

  11. 11.

    et al. Stability and exfoliation of germanane: A germanium graphane analogue. ACS Nano 7, 4414–4421 (2013).

  12. 12.

    et al. Improving the stability and optical properties of germanane via one-step covalent methyl-termination. Nature Commun. 5, 3389 (2014).

  13. 13.

    , , & Surface phase transition and interface interaction in the α-Sn/InSb (111) system. Phys. Rev. B 50, 7567–7572 (1994).

  14. 14.

    , & Structure and electronic states of the α-Sn(111)-(2 × 2) surface. J. Phys. Soc. Jpn 67, 381–384 (1998).

  15. 15.

    et al. Elemental topological insulator with tunable Fermi level: Strained α-Sn on InSb(001). Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 157205 (2013).

  16. 16.

    , , & Dirac cone with helical spin polarization in ultrathin α-Sn(001) films. Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 216401 (2013).

  17. 17.

    et al. Epitaxial growth and quantum well states study of Sn thin films on Sn induced Si(111)-(2R3x2R3) R30° surface. Phys. Rev. B 77, 205410 (2008).

  18. 18.

    et al. Experimental observation of Dirac-like surface states and topological phase transition in Pb1−xSnxTe(111) films. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 186801 (2014).

  19. 19.

    , & Angle-resolved photoemission studies of the cuprate superconductors. Rev. Mod. Phys. 75, 473–540 (2003).

  20. 20.

    et al. Observation of time-reversal-protected single-Dirac-cone topological-insulator states in Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 146401 (2009).

  21. 21.

    et al. Experimental realization of a three-dimensional topological insulator, Bi2Te3. Science 325, 178–181 (2009).

  22. 22.

    et al. Intrinsic topological insulator Bi2Te3 thin films on Si and their thickness limit. Adv. Mater. 22, 4002–4007 (2010).

  23. 23.

    et al. Topological insulators in Bi2Se3, Bi2Te3 and Sb2Te3 with a single Dirac cone on the surface. Nature Phys. 5, 438–442 (2009).

  24. 24.

    et al. Bulk band structure of Bi2Te3. Phys. Rev. B 90, 075105 (2014).

  25. 25.

    et al. Stable two-dimensional dumbbell stanene: A quantum spin Hall insulator. Phys. Rev. B 90, 121408(R) (2014).

  26. 26.

    et al. Hydrogenated ultra-thin tin films predicted as two-dimensional topological insulators. New J. Phys. 16, 115008 (2014).

Download references


The work in SJTU was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Grant Nos 2013CB921902, 2012CB927401, 2011CB922202), NSFC (Grant Nos 11227404, 11274228, 11174199, 11374206, 11134008, 91421312, 91221302) and Shanghai Committee of Science and Technology, China (Grant Nos 12JC1405300, 13QH1401500). The work in Stanford is supported by the NSF under grant number DMR-1305677 and by FAME, one of six centres of STARnet, a Semiconductor Research Corporation programme sponsored by MARCO and DARPA. D.Q. acknowledges support from the Top-notch Young Talents Program and the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning. C.-l.G. acknowledges support from the Shu Guang project by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and Shanghai Education Development Foundation. D.-d.G. acknowledges support from the Open Research Fund Program of the State Key Laboratory of Low-Dimensional Quantum Physics (Grant No. KF201310) and Shanghai Pujiang Program (Grant No. 14PJ1404600). The Advanced Light Source is supported by the Director, Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, of the US Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC02-05CH11231. The work is also supported by ENN.

Author information

Author notes

    • Feng-feng Zhu
    • , Wei-jiong Chen
    •  & Yong Xu

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Key Laboratory of Artificial Structures and Quantum Control (Ministry of Education), Department of Physics and Astronomy, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200240, China

    • Feng-feng Zhu
    • , Wei-jiong Chen
    • , Chun-lei Gao
    • , Dan-dan Guan
    • , Can-hua Liu
    • , Dong Qian
    •  & Jin-feng Jia
  2. Department of Physics, McCullough Building, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-4045, USA

    • Yong Xu
    •  & Shou-Cheng Zhang
  3. Department of Physics and Institute for Advanced Study, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China

    • Yong Xu
    •  & Shou-Cheng Zhang
  4. Collaborative Innovation Center of Quantum Matter, Beijing 100084, China

    • Yong Xu
    •  & Shou-Cheng Zhang
  5. Collaborative Innovation Center of Advanced Microstructures, Nanjing 210093, China

    • Chun-lei Gao
    • , Dan-dan Guan
    • , Can-hua Liu
    • , Dong Qian
    •  & Jin-feng Jia


  1. Search for Feng-feng Zhu in:

  2. Search for Wei-jiong Chen in:

  3. Search for Yong Xu in:

  4. Search for Chun-lei Gao in:

  5. Search for Dan-dan Guan in:

  6. Search for Can-hua Liu in:

  7. Search for Dong Qian in:

  8. Search for Shou-Cheng Zhang in:

  9. Search for Jin-feng Jia in:


F.-f.Z. and W.-j.C. conducted the experiments with the help of D.Q. and C.-l.G. Y.X. conducted the calculations. D.Q., Y.X., S.-C.Z. and J.-f.J. designed the experiments and provided financial and other support for the experiments and calculations. D.Q., C.-l.G., Y.X., D.-d.G., C.-h.L. and J.-f.J. analysed the data. D.Q., Y.X. and J.-f.J. wrote the paper.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Dong Qian or Jin-feng Jia.

Supplementary information

PDF files

  1. 1.

    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Information

About this article

Publication history





Further reading