• Heilmann, M.; Deinhart, V.; Tahraoui, A.; Höflich, K.; Lopes, J.M.J.: Spatially controlled epitaxial growth of 2D heterostructures via defect engineering using a focused He ion beam. npj 2D Materials and Applications 5 (2021), p. 70/1-7

Open Access Version

The combination of two-dimensional (2D) materials into heterostructures enables the formation of atomically thin devices with designed properties. To achieve a high-density, bottom-up integration, the growth of these 2D heterostructures via van der Waals epitaxy (vdWE) is an attractive alternative to the currently mostly employed mechanical transfer, which is problematic in terms of scaling and reproducibility. Controlling the location of the nuclei formation remains a key challenge in vdWE. Here, a focused He ion beam is used to deterministically place defects in graphene substrates, which serve as preferential nucleation sites for the growth of insulating, 2D hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN). Therewith a mask-free, selective-area vdWE (SAvdWE) is demonstrated, in which nucleation yield and crystal quality of h-BN are controlled by the ion beam parameters used for defect formation. Moreover, h-BN grown via SAvdWE is shown to exhibit electron tunneling characteristics comparable to those of mechanically transferred layers, thereby lying the foundation for a reliable, high-density array fabrication of 2D heterostructures for device integration via defect engineering in 2D substrates.