Atomistic Probing of Defect-Engineered 2H-MoTe2 Monolayers

ACS Nano. 2024 Mar 5;18(9):6927-6935. doi: 10.1021/acsnano.3c08606. Epub 2024 Feb 19.


Point defects dictate various physical, chemical, and optoelectronic properties of two-dimensional (2D) materials, and therefore, a rudimentary understanding of the formation and spatial distribution of point defects is a key to advancement in 2D material-based nanotechnology. In this work, we performed the demonstration to directly probe the point defects in 2H-MoTe2 monolayers that are tactically exposed to (i) 200 °C-vacuum-annealing and (ii) 532 nm-laser-illumination; and accordingly, we utilize a deep learning algorithm to classify and quantify the generated point defects. We discovered that tellurium-related defects are mainly generated in both 2H-MoTe2 samples; but interestingly, 200 °C-vacuum-annealing and 532 nm-laser-illumination modulate a strong n-type and strong p-type 2H-MoTe2, respectively. While 200 °C-vacuum-annealing generates tellurium vacancies or tellurium adatoms, 532 nm-laser-illumination prompts oxygen atoms to be adsorbed/chemisorbed at tellurium vacancies, giving rise to the p-type characteristic. This work significantly advances the current understanding of point defect engineering in 2H-MoTe2 monolayers and other 2D materials, which is critical for developing nanoscale devices with desired functionality.

Keywords: 2H-MoTe2; deep learning; laser-illumination; point defect; scanning transmission electron microscopy; vacuum-annealing.