Controlled crack propagation for atomic precision handling of wafer-scale two-dimensional materials

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Science  09 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6415, pp. 665-670
DOI: 10.1126/science.aat8126

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Cleaving with a metal handle

Using adhesive tape to pull off monolayers of two-dimensional (2D) materials is now a well-established approach. However, the flakes tend to be micrometer scale, and the creation of multilayer stacks for device application can be challenging and time consuming. Shim et al. show that monolayers of a variety of 2D materials, including molybdenum disulfide and hexagonal boron nitride, can be cleaved from multilayers grown as 5-centimeter-diameter wafers. The multilayer is capped with a nickel layer, which can be used to pull off the entire grown stack. The bottom of the stack is again capped with nickel, and a second round of cleaving leaves the monolayer on the bottom nickel layer. The monolayers could be transferred to other surfaces, which allowed the authors to make field-effect transistors with high charge-carrier mobilities.

Science, this issue p. 665


Although flakes of two-dimensional (2D) heterostructures at the micrometer scale can be formed with adhesive-tape exfoliation methods, isolation of 2D flakes into monolayers is extremely time consuming because it is a trial-and-error process. Controlling the number of 2D layers through direct growth also presents difficulty because of the high nucleation barrier on 2D materials. We demonstrate a layer-resolved 2D material splitting technique that permits high-throughput production of multiple monolayers of wafer-scale (5-centimeter diameter) 2D materials by splitting single stacks of thick 2D materials grown on a single wafer. Wafer-scale uniformity of hexagonal boron nitride, tungsten disulfide, tungsten diselenide, molybdenum disulfide, and molybdenum diselenide monolayers was verified by photoluminescence response and by substantial retention of electronic conductivity. We fabricated wafer-scale van der Waals heterostructures, including field-effect transistors, with single-atom thickness resolution.

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