Atomic and electronic structure of exfoliated black phosphorus

Ryan J. Wu, Mehmet Topsakal, Tony Low, Matthew C. Robbins, Nazila Haratipour, Jong Seok Jeong, Renata M. Wentzcovitch, Steven J. Koester, K. Andre Mkhoyan

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68 Scopus citations


Black phosphorus, a layered two-dimensional crystal with tunable electronic properties and high hole mobility, is quickly emerging as a promising candidate for future electronic and photonic devices. Although theoretical studies using ab initio calculations have tried to predict its atomic and electronic structure, uncertainty in its fundamental properties due to a lack of clear experimental evidence continues to stymie our full understanding and application of this novel material. In this work, aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscopy and ab initio calculations are used to study the crystal structure of few-layer black phosphorus. Directly interpretable annular dark-field images provide a three-dimensional atomic-resolution view of this layered material in which its stacking order and all three lattice parameters can be unambiguously identified. In addition, electron energy-loss spectroscopy (EELS) is used to measure the conduction band density of states of black phosphorus, which agrees well with the results of density functional theory calculations performed for the experimentally determined crystal. Furthermore, experimental EELS measurements of interband transitions and surface plasmon excitations are also consistent with simulated results. Finally, the effects of oxidation on both the atomic and electronic structure of black phosphorus are analyzed to explain observed device degradation. The transformation of black phosphorus into amorphous PO3 or H3PO3 during oxidation may ultimately be responsible for the degradation of devices exposed to atmosphere over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number060604
JournalJournal of Vacuum Science and Technology A: Vacuum, Surfaces and Films
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

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© 2015 American Vacuum Society.

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