Insights into the regularity of the formation of 2D 3d transition metal monocarbides†
Recently, several theoretical predictions have been made about 2D planar FeC, CoC, NiC, and CuC, while their bulk phases still remain unknown. Here, we present a generalization of the 2D family of 3d transition metal monocarbides (TMC) by searching for their stable configurations with DFT methods and an evolutionary algorithm. It is found that in the TMC row (TM = Sc-Cu) the tendency of 3D rocksalt phase formation is monotonously interchanged with 2D phase appearance, namely, planar orthorhombic TMC characterized by carbon dimers inside metal hexagons. Among them, orthorhombic CoC and FeC monocarbides would likely be formed rather than any other 2D metal carbide phase or metal/graphene interface.