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We show controlled production of atomically thin nanowells in bilayer WS using an heating holder combined with a focused electron beam in a scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM). We systematically study the formation and evolvement mechanism involved in removing a single layer of WS within a bilayer region with 2 nm accuracy in location and without punching through to the other layer to create a hole. Best results are found when using a high temperature of 800 °C, because it enables thermally activated atomic migration and eliminates the interference from surface carbon contamination. We demonstrate precise control over spatial distributions with 5 nm accuracy of patterning and the width of nanowells adjustable by dose-dependent parameters. The mechanism of removing a monolayer of WS within a bilayer region is different than removing equivalent sections in a monolayer film due to the van der Waals interaction of the underlying remaining layer in the bilayer system that stabilizes the excess W atom stoichiometry within the edges of the nanowell structure and facilitates expansion. This study offers insights for the nanoengineering of nanowells in two-dimensional (2D) transitional metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), which could hold potential as selective traps to localize 2D reactions in molecules and ions, underpinning the broader utilization of 2D material membranes.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: ACS nano
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