TitleNano-"Squeegee" for the Creation of Clean 2d Material Interfaces
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRosenberger M.R, Chuang H.J, McCreary K.M, Hanbicki A.T, Sivaram S.V, Jonker B.T
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Date Published03/2018

Two-dimensional (2D) materials exhibit many exciting phenomena that make them promising as materials for future electronic, optoelectronic, and mechanical devices. Because of their atomic thinness, interfaces play a dominant role in determining material behavior. In order to observe and exploit the unique properties of these materials, it is therefore vital to obtain clean and repeatable interfaces. However, the conventional mechanical stacking of atomically thin layers typically leads to trapped contaminants and spatially inhomogeneous interfaces, which obscure the true intrinsic behavior. This work presents a simple and generic approach to create clean 2D material interfaces in mechanically stacked structures. The operating principle is to use an AFM tip to controllably squeeze contaminants out from between 2D layers and their substrates, ~ a "squeegee". This approach leads to drastically improved homogeneity and consistency of 2D material interfaces, as demonstrated by AFM topography and significant reduction of photoluminescence line widths. Also, this approach enables emission from interlayer excitons, demonstrating that the technique enhances interlayer coupling in van der Waals heterostructures. The technique enables repeatable observation of intrinsic 2D material properties, which is crucial for the continued development of these promising materials.