Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Zhixian Zhou



Optimization of Transition-Metal Dichalcogenides based Field- Effect-Transistors via contact engineering


Meeghage M Perera

September , 2016

Advisor : Dr. Zhixian Zhou

Major: Physics (Condensed mater physics/nano-electronics)

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

Layered transition Metal Dichalcogenides (TMDs) have demonstrated a wide range of remarkable properties for applications in next generation nano-electronics. These systems have displayed many “graphene-like” properties including a relatively high carrier mobility, mechanical flexibility, chemical and thermal stability, and moreover offer the significant advantage of a substantial band gap. However, the fabrication of high performance field-effect transistors (FETs) of TMDs is challenging mainly due to the formation of a significant Schottky barrier at metal/TMD interface in most cases. The main goal of this study is to develop novel contact engineering strategies to achieve low-resistance Ohmic contacts.

Our first approach is to use Ionic Liquid (IL) gating of metal contacted MoS2 FETs to achieve highly transparent tunneling contacts due to the strong band banding at metal/MoS2 interface. The substantially reduced contact resistance in ionic-liquid-gated bilayer and few-layer MoS2 FETs results in an ambipolar behavior with high ON/OFF ratios, a near-ideal subthreshold swing, and significantly improved field-effect mobility. Remarkably, the mobility of a 3-nm-thick MoS2 FET with an IL gate was found to increase from ~ 100 cm2V-1s-1 to ~ 220 cm2V-1s-1 as the temperature decreased from 180 K to 77 K. This finding is in quantitative agreement with the true channel mobility measured by four-terminal measurement, suggesting that the mobility is predominantly limited by phonon-scattering. To further improve the contacts of TMD devices, graphene was used as work function tunable electrodes. In order to achieve low Schottky barrier height, both IL gating and surface charge transfer doping were used to tune the work function of graphene electrodes close to the conduction band edge of MoS2. As a result, the performance of our graphene contacted MoS2 FETs is limited by the channel rather than contacts, which is further verified by four-terminal measurements.

Finally, degenerately doped TMDs are used as drain/source electrodes to form 2D/2D van der Waals contacts, which are air and thermally stable. WSe2 devices with 2D/2D contacts and 0.01% Nb doped WSe2channel show a high ON/OFF ratio and high field-effect mobility of 175 cm2V-1S-1 at room temperature, which increases to 654 cm2V-1S-1 at cryogenic temperatures. As the doping concentration increases, both the ON/OFF ratio and mobility decrease. These contact engineering strategies overcome a major challenge in the development of electronics based on 2D materials beyond graphene.