Spatial Mapping of Electrostatic Fields in 2D Heterostructures

Akshay A. Murthy, Stephanie M. Ribet, Teodor K. Stanev, Pufan Liu, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, Nathaniel P. Stern, Roberto Dos Reis, Vinayak P. Dravid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In situ electron microscopy is an effective tool for understanding the mechanisms driving novel phenomena in 2D structures. However, due to practical challenges, it is difficult to address these technologically relevant 2D heterostructures with electron microscopy. Here, we use the differential phase contrast (DPC) imaging technique to build a methodology for probing local electrostatic fields during electrical operation with nanoscale spatial resolution in such materials. We find that, by combining a traditional DPC setup with a high-pass filter, we can largely eliminate electric fluctuations emanating from short-range atomic potentials. Using a method based on this filtering algorithm, a priori electric field expectations can be directly compared with experimentally derived values to readily identify inhomogeneities and potentially problematic regions. We use this platform to analyze the electric field and charge density distribution across layers of hBN and MoS2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7131-7137
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 8 2021


  • MoS
  • differential phase contrast
  • heterostructure
  • in situ electron microscopy
  • transition-metal dichalcogenides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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