Oxide-mediated recovery of field-effect mobility in plasma-treated MoS2

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Science Advances  02 Mar 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 3, eaao5031
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aao5031

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Precise tunability of electronic properties of two-dimensional (2D) nanomaterials is a key goal of current research in this field of materials science. Chemical modification of layered transition metal dichalcogenides leads to the creation of heterostructures of low-dimensional variants of these materials. In particular, the effect of oxygen-containing plasma treatment on molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has long been thought to be detrimental to the electrical performance of the material. We show that the mobility and conductivity of MoS2 can be precisely controlled and improved by systematic exposure to oxygen/argon plasma and characterize the material using advanced spectroscopy and microscopy. Through complementary theoretical modeling, which confirms conductivity enhancement, we infer the role of a transient 2D substoichiometric phase of molybdenum trioxide (2D-MoOx) in modulating the electronic behavior of the material. Deduction of the beneficial role of MoOx will serve to open the field to new approaches with regard to the tunability of 2D semiconductors by their low-dimensional oxides in nano-modified heterostructures.

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