Experimental Observation of Boron Nitride Chains

We report the formation and characterization of boron nitride atomic chains. The chains were made from hexagonal boron nitride sheets using the electron beam inside a transmission electron microscope. We find that the stability and lifetime of the chains are significantly improved when they are supported by another boron nitride layer. With the help of first-principles calculations, we prove the heteroatomic structure of the chains and determine their mechanical and electronic properties. Our study completes the analogy between various boron nitride and carbon polymorphs, in accordance with earlier theoretical predictions.