Nano Letters

Thermomechanical Nanostraining of Two-Dimensional Materials

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Local bandgap tuning in two-dimensional (2D) materials is of significant importance for electronic and optoelectronic devices but achieving controllable and reproducible strain engineering at the nanoscale remains a challenge. Here, we report on thermomechanical nanoindentation with a scanning probe to create strain nanopatterns in 2D transition metal dichalcogenides and graphene, enabling arbitrary patterns with a modulated bandgap at a spatial resolution down to 20 nm. The 2D material is in contact via van der Waals interactions with a thin polymer layer underneath that deforms due to the heat and indentation force from the heated probe. Specifically, we demonstrate that the local bandgap of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is spatially modulated up to 10% and is tunable up to 180 meV in magnitude at a linear rate of about -70 meV per percent of strain. The technique provides a versatile tool for investigating the localized strain engineering of 2D materials with nanometer-scale resolution.