Layer-by-layer assembly of two-dimensional materials into wafer-scale heterostructures

Nature. 2017 Oct 12;550(7675):229-233. doi: 10.1038/nature23905. Epub 2017 Sep 20.

Abstract

High-performance semiconductor films with vertical compositions that are designed to atomic-scale precision provide the foundation for modern integrated circuitry and novel materials discovery. One approach to realizing such films is sequential layer-by-layer assembly, whereby atomically thin two-dimensional building blocks are vertically stacked, and held together by van der Waals interactions. With this approach, graphene and transition-metal dichalcogenides-which represent one- and three-atom-thick two-dimensional building blocks, respectively-have been used to realize previously inaccessible heterostructures with interesting physical properties. However, no large-scale assembly method exists at present that maintains the intrinsic properties of these two-dimensional building blocks while producing pristine interlayer interfaces, thus limiting the layer-by-layer assembly method to small-scale proof-of-concept demonstrations. Here we report the generation of wafer-scale semiconductor films with a very high level of spatial uniformity and pristine interfaces. The vertical composition and properties of these films are designed at the atomic scale using layer-by-layer assembly of two-dimensional building blocks under vacuum. We fabricate several large-scale, high-quality heterostructure films and devices, including superlattice films with vertical compositions designed layer-by-layer, batch-fabricated tunnel device arrays with resistances that can be tuned over four orders of magnitude, band-engineered heterostructure tunnel diodes, and millimetre-scale ultrathin membranes and windows. The stacked films are detachable, suspendable and compatible with water or plastic surfaces, which will enable their integration with advanced optical and mechanical systems.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't