Nano Letters

Mechanisms of Quasi van der Waals Epitaxy of Three-Dimensional Metallic Nanoislands on Suspended Two-Dimensional Materials

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Understanding structure at the interface between two-dimensional (2D) materials and 3D metals is crucial for designing novel 2D/3D heterostructures and improving the performance of many 2D material devices. Here, we quantify and discuss the 2D/3D interface structure and the 3D morphology in several materials systems. We first deposit faceted Au nanoislands on graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides, using measurements of the equilibrium island shape to determine values for the 2D/Au interface energy and examining the role of surface reconstructions, chemical identity, and defects on the grown structures. We then deposit the technologically relevant metals Ti and Nb under conditions where kinetic rather than thermodynamic factors govern growth. We describe a transition from dendritic to faceted islands as a function of growth temperature and discuss the factors determining island shape in these materials systems. Finally, we show that suspended 2D materials enable the fabrication of a novel type of 3D/2D/3D heterostructure and discuss the growth mechanism. We suggest that emerging nanodevices will utilize versatile fabrication of 2D/3D heterostructures with well-characterized interfaces and morphologies.