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Improving the Optical Quality of MoSe2 and WS2 Monolayers with Complete h‑BN Encapsulation by High-Temperature Annealing

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journal contribution
posted on 31.12.2021, 06:29 by Xiang Hua, Theodor Axenie, Mateo Navarro Goldaraz, Kyungnam Kang, Eui-Hyeok Yang, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, James Hone, Bumho Kim, Irving P. Herman
We improved the optical quality and stability of an exfoliated monolayer (ML) MoSe2 and chemical vapor deposition (CVD)-grown WS2 MLs by encapsulating and sealing them with both top and bottom few-layer h-BN, as tested by subsequent high-temperature annealing up to 873 K and photoluminescence (PL) measurements. These transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD) MLs remained stable up to this maximum temperature, as seen visually. After the heating/cooling cycle, the integrated photoluminescence (PL) intensity at 300 K in the MoSe2 ML was ∼4 times larger than that before heating and that from exciton and trion PL in the analogous WS2 ML sample was ∼14 times and ∼2.5 times larger at 77 K and the exciton peak was ∼9.5 times larger at 300 K. This is attributed to the reduction of impurities, the lateral expulsion of contamination leading to clean and atomically flat surfaces, and the sealing provided by the h-BN layers that prevents the diffusion of molecules such as trace O2 and H2O to the TMD ML. Stability and optical performance are much improved compared to that in earlier work using top h-BN only, in which the WS2 ML PL intensity decreased even for an optimal gas environment. This complete encapsulation is particularly promising for CVD-grown TMD MLs because they have relatively more charge and other impurities than do exfoliated MLs. These results open a new route for improving the optical properties of TMD MLs and their performance and applications both at room and higher temperatures.