Atomic-Scale Carving of Nanopores into a van der Waals Heterostructure with Slow Highly Charged Ions

Janine Schwestka, Heena Inani, Mukesh Tripathi, Anna Niggas, Niall McEvoy, Florian Libisch, Friedrich Aumayr, Jani Kotakoski, Richard A. Wilhelm

The growing family of 2D materials led not long ago to combining different 2D layers and building artificial systems in the form of van der Waals heterostructures. Tailoring of heterostructure properties postgrowth would greatly benefit from a modification technique with a monolayer precision. However, appropriate techniques for material modification with this precision are still missing. To achieve such control, slow highly charged ions appear ideal as they carry high amounts of potential energy, which is released rapidly upon ion neutralization at the position of the ion. The resulting potential energy deposition is thus limited to just a few atomic layers (in contrast to the kinetic energy deposition). Here, we irradiated a freestanding van der Waals MoS2/graphene heterostructure with 1.3 keV/amu xenon ions in high charge states of 38, which led to nanometer-sized pores that appear only in the MoS2 facing the ion beam, but not in graphene beneath the hole. Reversing the stacking order leaves both layers undamaged, which we attribute to the high conductivity and carrier mobility in graphene acting as a shield for the MoS2 underneath. Our main focus is here on monolayer MoS2, but we also analyzed areas with few-layer structures and observed that the perforation is limited to the two topmost MoS2 layers, whereas deeper layers remain intact. Our results demonstrate that in addition to already being a valuable tool for materials processing, the usability of ion irradiation can be extended to mono- (or bi)layer manipulation of van der Waals heterostructures when the localized potential energy deposition of highly charged ions is also added to the toolbox.

Physics of Nanostructured Materials
External organisation(s)
Technische Universität Wien, Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Trinity College Dublin
ACS Nano
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
103018 Materials physics, 210006 Nanotechnology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Engineering(all), Physics and Astronomy(all), Materials Science(all)
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