Layer Number Dependence of MoS2 Photoconductivity Using Photocurrent Spectral Atomic Force Microscopic Imaging
journal contributionposted on 24.03.2015 by Youngwoo Son, Qing Hua Wang, Joel A. Paulson, Chih-Jen Shih, Ananth G. Rajan, Kevin Tvrdy, Sojin Kim, Bassam Alfeeli, Richard D. Braatz, Michael S. Strano
Any type of content formally published in an academic journal, usually following a peer-review process.
Atomically thin MoS2 is of great interest for electronic and optoelectronic applications because of its unique two-dimensional (2D) quantum confinement; however, the scaling of optoelectronic properties of MoS2 and its junctions with metals as a function of layer number as well the spatial variation of these properties remain unaddressed. In this work, we use photocurrent spectral atomic force microscopy (PCS-AFM) to image the current (in the dark) and photocurrent (under illumination) generated between a biased PtIr tip and MoS2 nanosheets with thickness ranging between n = 1 to 20 layers. Dark current measurements in both forward and reverse bias reveal characteristic diode behavior well-described by Fowler–Nordheim tunneling with a monolayer barrier energy of 0.61 eV and an effective barrier scaling linearly with layer number. Under illumination at 600 nm, the photocurrent response shows a marked decrease for layers up to n = 4 but increasing thereafter, which we describe using a model that accounts for the linear barrier increase at low n, but increased light absorption at larger n creating a minimum at n = 4. Comparative 2D Fourier analysis of physical height and photocurrent images shows high spatial frequency spatial variations in substrate/MoS2 contact that exceed the frequencies imposed by the underlying substrates. These results should aid in the design and understanding of optoelectronic devices based on quantum confined atomically thin MoS2.