Intrinsic Transport in 2D Heterostructures Mediated through h-BN Tunneling Contacts

Akshay A. Murthy, Teodor K. Stanev, Jeffrey D. Cain, Shiqiang Hao, Trevor Lamountain, Sungkyu Kim, Nathaniel Speiser, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, Chris Wolverton, Nathaniel P. Stern, Vinayak P. Dravid*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Understanding the electronic transport of monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) and their heterostructures is complicated by the difficulty in achieving electrical contacts that do not perturb the material. Typically, metal deposition on monolayer TMDs leads to hybridization between the TMD and the metal, which produces Schottky barriers at the metal/semiconductor interface. In this work, we apply the recently reported hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) tunnel contact scheme to probe the junction characteristics of a lateral TMD heterostructure grown via chemical vapor deposition. We first measure the electronic properties across the junction before elucidating optoelectronic generation mechanisms via scanning photocurrent microscopy. We find that the rectification ratio measured using the encapsulated, tunnel contact scheme is almost 2 orders of magnitude smaller than that observed via conventional metal contact geometry, which implies that the metal/semiconductor Schottky barriers play large roles in this aspect. Furthermore, we find that both the photovoltaic as well as hot carrier generation effects are dominant mechanisms driving photoresponse, depending on the external biasing conditions. This work is the first time that this encapsulation scheme has been applied to lateral heterostructures and serves as a reference for future electronic measurements on this material. It also simultaneously serves as a framework to more accurately assess the electronic transport characteristics of 2D heterostructures and better inform future device architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2990-2998
Number of pages9
JournalNano letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 9 2018


  • MoS
  • Transition metal dichalcogenides
  • WS
  • heterostructures
  • scanning photocurrent microscopy
  • tunneling contacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)


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