Engineering two-dimensional materials : discovery, defects, and environment
The discovery of graphene and its unprecedented properties inspired an extraordinary increase in research progress, launching an era of two-dimensional (2D) electronic materials. These stable crystalline atomic layers enable the design of ultrathin 2D devices by combining different 2D materials as the foundational components. In order to control the properties of these devices, materials with a variety of electronic properties must be available. In this dissertation, we explore three distinct paths to achieve this goal: expanding the library of 2D materials, post synthesis defect engineering, and proximity engineering of the electrostatic environment. First, we report the MBE synthesis and STM/S characterization of a new 2D insulator, honeycomb structure BeO. In addition to determining the atomic structure and density of states, we used moiré pattern analysis to demonstrate the high crystallinity of the BeO and determined the work function modulation across the moiré pattern. We illustrate that the scalable growth, weak substrate interactions, and long-range crystallinity make honeycomb BeO an attractive candidate for future technological applications. The next focus of this work was defect engineering of monolayer WS₂ by UHV annealing. A high concentration of S vacancies was generated by UHV annealing of the WS2, leading to S vacancy defect-defect coupling. Using STM/S we determined that the interaction of nearby S vacancies leads to an increase of deep in-gap states for different divacancy geometries. This indicates that vacancy engineering can be a useful tool to controllably manipulate 2D material electronic properties. Finally, we demonstrate the creation of a nanoscale planar p-n junction within a single monolayer of MoSe₂ by modulating the electronic properties of the underlying substrate. By intercalating Se at the interface of the hBN/Ru substrate, the hBN becomes decoupled from the Ru, changing its conductivity and work function. We find that this change in the electronic landscape tunes the band gap of the overlying MoSe₂, by screening and shifting the MoSe₂ work function. Thus, this dissertation shines a light on the vast opportunities 2D materials provide for exploration of novel approaches to materials engineering, and demonstrates a tool set for manipulating the electronic properties of these fascinating materials.