The effect of air exposure on 2H-WSe2/HOPG is determined via scanning tunneling microscopy (STM). WSe2 was grown by molecular beam epitaxy on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG), and afterward, a Se adlayer was deposited in situ on WSe2/HOPG to prevent unintentional oxidation during transferring from the growth chamber to the STM chamber. After annealing at 773 K to remove the Se adlayer, STM images show that WSe2 layers nucleate at both step edges and terraces of the HOPG. Exposure to air for 1 week and 9 weeks caused air-induced adsorbates to be deposited on the WSe2 surface; however, the band gap of the terraces remained unaffected and nearly identical to those on decapped WSe2. The air-induced adsorbates can be removed by annealing at 523 K. In contrast to WSe2 terraces, air exposure caused the edges of the WSe2 to oxidize and form protrusions, resulting in a larger band gap in the scanning tunneling spectra compared to the terraces of air-exposed WSe2 monolayers. The preferential oxidation at the WSe2 edges compared to the terraces is likely the result of dangling edge bonds. In the absence of air exposure, the dangling edge bonds had a smaller band gap compared to the terraces and a shift of about 0.73 eV in the Fermi level toward the valence band. However, after air exposure, the band gap of the oxidized WSe2 edges became about 1.08 eV larger than that of the WSe2 terraces, resulting in the electronic passivation of the WSe2.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)