How robust is the metallicity of two dimensional gallium?
Atomically thin gallium layers have recently been experimentally produced via solid–melt exfoliation, and show promise as robustly metallic 2D materials for electronic applications. However, the extent to which the experimental technique can be extended to other metals relies on understanding how the 2D structures relate to the bulk form of gallium, which is itself unique as an elemental ‘molecular metal’. We relate the experimentally formed 2D materials to the theoretically predicted ‘bilayer gallium’ which has previously been shown to be stable in vacuum at the nanoscale, via density functional theory calculations. We also study the variation of electronic structure with lattice strain to confirm the extent to which the metallicity will be robust on a wide range of substrate materials.