General Top-Down Ion Exchange Process for the Growth of Epitaxial Chalcogenide Thin Films and Devices

Chuan Xia, Peng Li, Jun Li, Qiu Jiang, Xixiang Zhang, Husam N. Alshareef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We demonstrate a versatile top-down ion exchange process, done at ambient temperature, to form epitaxial chalcogenide films and devices, with nanometer scale thickness control. To demonstrate the versatility of our process we have synthesized (1) epitaxial chalcogenide metallic and semiconducting films and (2) free-standing chalcogenide films and (3) completed in situ formation of atomically sharp heterojunctions by selective ion exchange. Epitaxial NiCo2S4 thin films prepared by our process show 115 times higher mobility than NiCo2S4 pellets (23 vs 0.2 cm(2) V-1 s(-1)) prepared by previous reports. By controlling the ion exchange process time, we made free-standing epitaxial films of NiCo2S4 and transferred them onto different substrates. We also demonstrate in situ formation of atomically sharp, lateral Schottky diodes based on NiCo2O4/NiCo2S4 heterojunction, using a single ion exchange step. Additionally, we show that our approach can be easily extended to other chalcogenide semiconductors. Specifically, we used our process to prepare Cu1.8S thin films with mobility that matches single crystal Cu1.8S (25 cm(2) V-1 s(-1)), which is ca. 28 times higher than the previously reported Cu1.8S thin film mobility (0.58 cm(2) V-1 s(-1)), thus demonstrating the universal nature of our process. This is the first report in which chalcogenide thin films retain the epitaxial nature of the precursor oxide films, an approach that will be useful in many applications.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)690-698
Number of pages9
JournalChemistry of Materials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Research reported in this publication has been supported by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). The authors would like to thank Zhenwei Wang for useful discussions.


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