Extraordinary Radiation Hardness of Atomically Thin MoS 2

Andrew J. Arnold, Tan Shi, Igor Jovanovic, Saptarshi Das

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


We demonstrate that atomically thin layered two-dimensional (2D) semiconductors are promising candidates for space electronics owing to their inherent and extraordinary resilience to radiation damage from energetic heavy charged particles. In particular, we found that ultrathin MoS 2 nanosheets can easily withstand proton and helium irradiation with fluences as high as â10 16 and â10 15 ions/cm 2 , respectively, corresponding to hundreds or thousands of years of unshielded exposure to radiation in space. While radiation effects on 2D material-based field effect transistors have been reported in the recent past, none of these studies could isolate the impact of irradiation on standalone ultrathin 2D layers. By adopting a unique experimental approach that exploits the van der Waals epitaxy of 2D materials, we were able to differentiate the effects of radiation on the 2D semiconducting channel from that of the underlying dielectric substrate, semiconductor/substrate interface, and metal/semiconductor contact interface, revealing the ultimate potential of these 2D materials. Furthermore, we used a statistical approach to evaluate the effect of radiation damage on critical device and material parameters, including threshold voltage, subthreshold slope, and carrier mobility. The statistical approach lends additional credence to the general conclusions drawn from this study, overcoming a common drawback of methods applied in this area of research. Our findings do not only offer exciting prospects for the operation of modern electronics in space, but may also benefit electronics applications in high-altitude flights, military aircraft, satellites, nuclear reactors, particle accelerators, and other high-radiation environments. Additionally, they highlight the importance of evaluating the impact of damage to the substrate and surrounding materials on electrical characteristics during future radiation studies of 2D materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8391-8399
Number of pages9
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number8
StatePublished - Feb 27 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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