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Although the unconventional π-magnetism at the zigzag edges of graphene holds promise for a wide array of applications, whether and to what degree it plays a role in their chemistry remains poorly understood. Here, we investigate the addition of a hydrogen atom─the simplest yet the most experimentally relevant adsorbate─to zigzag graphene nanoribbons (ZGNRs). We show that the π-magnetism governs the chemistry of ZGNRs, giving rise to a site-dependent reactivity of the carbon atoms and driving the hydrogenation process to the nanoribbon edges. Conversely, the chemisorbed hydrogen atom governs the π-magnetism of ZGNRs, acting as a spin-1/2 paramagnetic center in the otherwise antiferromagnetic ground state and spin-polarizing the charge carriers at the band extrema. Our findings establish a comprehensive picture of the peculiar interplay between chemistry and magnetism that emerges at the zigzag edges of graphene.

Citation

Michele Pizzochero, Efthimios Kaxiras. Hydrogen Atoms on Zigzag Graphene Nanoribbons: Chemistry and Magnetism Meet at the Edge. Nano letters. 2022 Mar 09;22(5):1922-1928

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PMID: 35167308

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