Peeling of multilayer graphene creates complex interlayer sliding patterns

T Korhonen and P Koskinen, PHYSICAL REVIEW B, 92, 115427 (2015).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.92.115427

Peeling, shearing, and sliding are important mechanical phenomena in van der Waals solids. However, theoretically they have been studied mostly using minimal periodic cells and in the context of accurate quantum simulations. Here we investigate the peeling of large-scale multilayer graphene stacks with varying thicknesses, stackings, and peeling directions by using classical molecular dynamics simulations with a registry-dependent interlayer potential. Simulations show that, while at large scale the peeling proceeds smoothly, at small scale the registry shifts and sliding patterns of the layers are unexpectedly intricate and depend both on the initial stacking and on the peeling direction. These observations indicate that peeling and concomitant kink formations may well transform stacking order and thereby profoundly influence the electronic structures of such multilayer solids.

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