13. Uncovering edge states and electrical inhomogeneity in MoS2 field-effect transistors

Di Wu, Xiao Li, Lan Luan, Xiaoyu Wu, Wei Li, Maruthi N Yogeesh, Rudresh Ghosh, Zhaodong Chu, Deji Akinwande, Qian Niu, Keji Lai

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113, 8583 (2016)

The understanding of various types of disorders in atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), including dangling bonds at the edges, chalcogen deficiencies in the bulk, and charges in the substrate, is of fundamental importance for TMD applications in electronics and photonics. Because of the imperfections, electrons moving on these 2D crystals experience a spatially nonuniform Coulomb environment, whose effect on the charge transport has not been microscopically studied. Here, we report the mesoscopic conductance mapping in monolayer and few-layer MoS2 field-effect transistors by microwave impedance microscopy (MIM). The spatial evolution of the insulator-to-metal transition is clearly resolved. Interestingly, as the transistors are gradually turned on, electrical conduction emerges initially at the edges before appearing in the bulk of MoS2 flakes, which can be explained by our first-principles calculations. The results unambiguously confirm that the contribution of edge states to the channel conductance is significant under the threshold voltage but negligible once the bulk of the TMD device becomes conductive. Strong conductance inhomogeneity, which is associated with the fluctuations of disorder potential in the 2D sheets, is also observed in the MIM images, providing a guideline for future improvement of the device performance.