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  1. Strain is powerful for discovery and manipulation of new phases of matter; however, elastic strains accessible to epitaxial films and bulk crystals are typically limited to small ( < 2 %), uniform, and often discrete values. This Perspective highlights emerging directions for strain and strain gradient engineering in free-standing single-crystalline membranes of quantum materials. Membranes enable large ( ∼ 10 %), continuously tunable strains and strain gradients via bending and rippling. Moreover, strain gradients break inversion symmetry to activate polar distortions, ferroelectricity, chiral spin textures, superconductivity, and topological states. Recent advances in membrane synthesis by remote epitaxy and sacrificial etch layers enable extreme strains in transition metal oxides, intermetallics, and Heusler compounds, expanding beyond the natively van der Waals (vdW) materials like graphene. We highlight emerging opportunities and challenges for strain and strain gradient engineering in membranes of non-vdW materials. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 24, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  3. The synthesis of functional graphene nanostructures on Ge(001) provides an attractive route toward integrating graphene-based electronic devices onto complementary metal oxide semiconductor-compatible platforms. In this study, we leverage the phenomenon of the anisotropic growth of graphene nanoribbons from rationally placed graphene nanoseeds and their rotational self-alignment during chemical vapor deposition to synthesize mesoscale graphene nanomeshes over areas spanning several hundred square micrometers. Lithographically patterned nanoseeds are defined on a Ge(001) surface at pitches ranging from 50 to 100 nm, which serve as starting sites for subsequent nanoribbon growth. Rotational self-alignment of the nanoseeds followed by anisotropic growth kinetics causes the resulting nanoribbons to be oriented along each of the equivalent, orthogonal Ge⟨110⟩ directions with equal probability. As the nanoribbons grow, they fuse, creating a continuous nanomesh. In contrast to nanomesh synthesis via top-down approaches, this technique yields nanomeshes with atomically faceted edges and covalently bonded junctions, which are important for maximizing charge transport properties. Additionally, we simulate the electrical characteristics of nanomeshes synthesized from different initial nanoseed-sizes, size-polydispersities, pitches, and device channel lengths to identify a parameter-space for acceptable on/off ratios and on-conductance in semiconductor electronics. The simulations show that decreasing seed diameter and pitch are critical to increasing nanomesh on/off ratio and on-conductance, respectively. With further refinements in lithography, nanomeshes obtained via seeded synthesis and anisotropic growth are likely to have superior electronic properties with tremendous potential in a multitude of applications, such as radio frequency communications, sensing, thin-film electronics, and plasmonics. 
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  4. Hybrid MBE produces epitaxial SrTiO 3 free-standing nanomembranes using remote epitaxy in an adsorption-controlled manner. 
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  5. Abstract

    Remote epitaxy is a promising approach for synthesizing exfoliatable crystalline membranes and enabling epitaxy of materials with large lattice mismatch. However, the atomic scale mechanisms for remote epitaxy remain unclear. Here we experimentally demonstrate that GaSb films grow on graphene-terminated GaSb (001) via a seeded lateral epitaxy mechanism, in which pinhole defects in the graphene serve as selective nucleation sites, followed by lateral epitaxy and coalescence into a continuous film. Remote interactions are not necessary in order to explain the growth. Importantly, the small size of the pinholes permits exfoliation of continuous, free-standing GaSb membranes. Due to the chemical similarity between GaSb and other III-V materials, we anticipate this mechanism to apply more generally to other materials. By combining molecular beam epitaxy with in-situ electron diffraction and photoemission, plus ex-situ atomic force microscopy and Raman spectroscopy, we track the graphene defect generation and GaSb growth evolution a few monolayers at a time. Our results show that the controlled introduction of nanoscale openings in graphene provides an alternative route towards tuning the growth and properties of 3D epitaxial films and membranes on 2D material masks.

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