Combined electronic excitation and knock-on damage in monolayer MoS<sub>2</sub>

Carsten Speckmann, Julia Lang, Jacob Madsen, Mohammad Reza Ahmadpour Monazam, Georg Zagler, Gregor T. Leuthner, Niall McEvoy, Clemens Mangler, Toma Susi, Jani Kotakoski

Electron irradiation-induced damage is often the limiting factor in imaging materials prone to ionization or electronic excitations due to inelastic electron scattering. Quantifying the related processes at the atomic scale has only become possible with the advent of aberration-corrected (scanning) transmission electron microscopes and two-dimensional materials that allow imaging each lattice atom. While it has been shown for graphene that pure knock-on damage arising from elastic scattering is sufficient to describe the observed damage, the situation is more complicated with two-dimensional semiconducting materials such as MoS2. Here, we measure the displacement cross section for sulfur atoms in MoS2 with primary beam energies between 55 and 90 keV, and correlate the results with existing measurements and theoretical models. Our experimental data suggests that the displacement process can occur from the ground state, or with single or multiple excitations, all caused by the same impinging electron. The results bring light to reports in the recent literature, and add necessary experimental data for a comprehensive description of electron irradiation damage in a two-dimensional semiconducting material. Specifically, the results agree with a combined inelastic and elastic damage mechanism at intermediate energies, in addition to a pure elastic mechanism that dominates above 80 keV. When the inelastic contribution is assumed to arise through impact ionization, the associated excitation lifetime is on the order of picoseconds, on par with expected excitation lifetimes in MoS2, whereas it drops to some tens of femtoseconds when direct valence excitation is considered.

Physics of Nanostructured Materials
External organisation(s)
University of Dublin
Physical Review B
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
103042 Electron microscopy, 210004 Nanomaterials, 103030 Radiation physics, 103015 Condensed matter
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials, Condensed Matter Physics
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