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Synthesis of borophenes: Anisotropic, two-dimensional boron polymorphs.


At the atomic-cluster scale, pure boron is markedly similar to carbon, forming simple planar molecules and cage-like fullerenes. Theoretical studies predict that two-dimensional (2D) boron sheets will adopt an atomic configuration similar to that of boron atomic clusters. We synthesized atomically thin, crystalline 2D boron sheets (i.e., borophene) on silver surfaces under ultrahigh-vacuum conditions. Atomic-scale characterization, supported by theoretical calculations, revealed structures reminiscent of fused boron clusters with multiple scales of anisotropic, out-of-plane buckling. Unlike bulk boron allotropes, borophene shows metallic characteristics that are consistent with predictions of a highly anisotropic, 2D metal.