Unlike graphene, single sheets of atomically-smooth hexagonal boron nitride have emerged as an ideal insulator in the realm of flatlands, owing to its wide bandgap nature. The large bandgap of hexagonal boron nitride also results in its interesting excitonic properties in the deep-ultraviolet region—making it an extremely compelling material for a plethora of applications in optical research and bio-photonics. The electronic and optical properties of a single layer of hexagonal boron nitride, however, have to date remained poorly understood. Here, Ferreira and co-workers systematically determine several important electronic and optical properties of a single layer of the material by employing a combination of advanced simulation techniques and cross-checking the results obtained from different calculation approaches. Interestingly, the simulation outcomes also suggest that a single sheet of hexagonal boron nitride can be used as a novel platform for exotic phenomena such as hybridization of light and condense matter excitation or nearly perfect atomically flat mirrors in the ultraviolet spectral region.
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