Writing monolithic integrated circuits on a two-dimensional semiconductor with a scanning light probe


The development of complex electronics based on two-dimensional (2D) materials will require the integration of a large number of 2D devices into circuits. However, a practical method of assembling such devices into integrated circuits remains elusive. Here we show that a scanning visible light probe can be used to directly write electrical circuitry onto the 2D semiconductor molybdenum ditelluride (2H-MoTe2). Laser light illumination over metal patterns deposited onto 2D channels of 2H-MoTe2 can convert the channels from an n-type semiconductor to a p-type semiconductor, by creating adatom–vacancy clusters in the host lattice. With this process, diffusive doping profiles can be controlled at the submicrometre scale and doping concentrations can be tuned, allowing the channel sheet resistance to be varied over four orders of magnitudes. Our doping method can be used to assemble both n- and p-doped channels within the same atomic plane, which allows us to fabricate 2D device arrays of n–p–n (p–n–p) bipolar junction transistor amplifiers and radial p–n photovoltaic cells.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Direct writing of electrical circuitry on a single semiconductor layer by scanning a visible laser.
Fig. 2: Microscopic origin of p-type doping in 2H-MoTe2 upon light illumination.
Fig. 3: Programmable local p-type doping by light illumination.
Fig. 4: Direct writing of integrated bipolar junction transistor arrays.
Fig. 5: Circularly patterned coplanar MoTe2 p–n junction arrays as photovoltaic cells.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.


  1. 1.

    Britnell, L. et al. Strong light–matter interactions in heterostructures of atomically thin films. Science 340, 1311–1314 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Lee, C.-H. et al. Atomically thin p–n junctions with van der Waals heterointerfaces. Nat. Nanotech. 9, 676–681 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Kappera, R. et al. Phase-engineered low-resistance contacts for ultrathin MoS2 transistors. Nat. Mater. 13, 1128–1134 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Heo, H. et al. Interlayer orientation-dependent light absorption and emission in monolayer semiconductor stacks. Nat. Commun. 6, 7372 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Cha, S. et al. 1s intraexcitonic dynamics in monolayer MoS2 probed by ultrafast mid-infrared spectroscopy. Nat. Commun. 7, 10768 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Lee, M.-J. et al. Thermoelectric materials by utilizing two-dimensional materials with negative correlation between electrical and thermal conductivity. Nat. Commun. 7, 12011 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7.

    Geim, A. K. & Grigorieva, I. V. Van der Waals heterostructure. Nature 499, 419–425 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8.

    van der Zande, A. M. et al. Grains and grain boundaries in highly crystalline monolayer molybdenum disulphide. Nat. Mater. 12, 554–561 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9.

    Li, M.-Y. et al. Epitaxial growth of a monolayer WSe2–MoS2 lateral p–n junction with an atomically sharp interface. Science 349, 524–528 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10.

    Kang, K. et al. High-mobility three-atom-thick semiconducting films with wafer scale homogeneity. Nature 520, 656–660 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11.

    Zhao, M. et al. Large-scale chemical assembly of atomically thin transistors and circuits. Nat. Nanotech. 11, 954–959 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12.

    Liu, L. et al. Heteroepitaxial growth of two-dimensional hexagonal boron nitride template by graphene edge. Science 343, 163–167 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13.

    Gong, Y. et al. Vertical and in-plane heterostructures from WS2/MoS2 monolayer. Nat. Mater. 13, 1135–1142 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14.

    Heo, H. et al. Rotation-misfit-free heteroepitaxial stacking and stitching growth of hexagonal transition-metal dichalcogenide monolayers by nucleation kinetics controls. Adv. Mater. 27, 3803–3810 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15.

    Radisavljevic, B., Radenovic, A., Brivio, J., Giacometti, V. & Kis, A. Single-layer MoS2 transistors. Nat. Nanotech. 6, 147–150 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16.

    Britnell, L. et al. Field-effect tunneling transistor based on vertical graphene heterostructures. Science 335, 947–950 (2012).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17.

    Fang, H. et al. Degenerate n-doping of few-layer transition metal dichalcogenides by potassium. Nano. Lett. 13, 1991–1995 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. 18.

    Yang, L. et al. Chloride molecular doping technique on 2D materials: WS2 and MoS2. Nano. Lett. 14, 6275–6280 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. 19.

    Wang, S., Zhao, W., Giustinianoa, F. & Eda, G. Effect of oxygen and ozone on p-type doping of ultra-thin WSe2 and MoSe2 field effect transistors. Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 18, 4304–4309 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20.

    Tongay, S. et al. Broad-range modulation of light emission in two-dimensional semiconductors by molecular physisorption gating. Nano. Lett. 13, 2831–2836 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21.

    Qu, D. et al. Carrier-type modulation and mobility improvement of thin MoTe2. Adv. Mater. 29, 1606433 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22.

    Chang, Y. M., et al, Reversible and precisely controllable p/n-type doping of MoTe2 transistors through electrothermal doping. Adv. Mater. 30, 1706995 (2018).

  23. 23.

    Sung, J. H. et al. Atomic layer-by-layer thermoelectric conversion in topological insulator bismuth/antimony tellurides. Nano. Lett. 14, 4030–4035 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. 24.

    Sung, J. H. et al. Coplanar semiconductor–metal circuitry defined on few-layer MoTe2 via polymorphic heteroepitaxy. Nat. Nanotech. 12, 1064–1070 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. 25.

    Cho, S. et al. Phase patterning for ohmic homojunction contact in MoTe2. Science 349, 625–628 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. 26.

    Parzinger, E., Hetzl, M., Wurstbauer, U. & Holleitner, A. W. Contact morphology and revisited photocurrent dynamics in monolayer MoS2. npj 2D Mater. Appl. 1, 40 (2017).

  27. 27.

    Hla, S. W., Marinković, V., Prodan, A. & Muševič, I. STM/AFM investigations of β-MoTe2, α-MoTe2 and WTe2. Surface Sci. 352-354, 105–111 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. 28.

    Hong, J. et al. Exploring atomic defects in molybdenum disulphide monolayers. Nature Commun. 6, 6293 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. 29.

    Liu, X., Balla, I., Bergeron, H. & Hersam, M. C. Point defects and grain boundaries in rotationally commensurate MoS2 on epitaxial graphene. J. Phys. Chem. C 120, 20798–20805 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. 30.

    Zhang, S. et al. Defect structure of localized excitons in a WSe2 monolayer. Phys. Rev. Lett. 119, 046101 (2017).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. 31.

    Bin, C. et al. Environmental changes in MoTe2 excitonic dynamics by defects-activated molecular interaction. ACS Nano 9, 5326–5332 (2015).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. 32.

    Kleinman, D. A. & Schawlow, A. L. Corbino disk. J. Appl. Phys. 31, 2176 (1960).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. 33.

    Posposchill, A., Furchi, M. M. & Mueller, T. Solar-energy conversion and light emission in an atomic monolayer p–n diode. Nat. Nanotech. 9, 257–261 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. 34.

    Baugher, B. W. H., Churchill, H. O. H., Yang, Y. & Jarillo-Herrero, P. Optoelectronic devices based on electrically tunable p–n diodes in a monolayer dichalcogenide. Nat. Mater. 9, 262–267 (2014).

    Google Scholar 

  35. 35.

    Lee, C. et al. Atomically thin p–n junction with van der Waals heterointerfaces. Nat. Nanotech. 10, 676–681 (2014).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This work was supported by the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), Korea under Project Code IBS-R014-G1-2018-A1. S.C. and H.C. were supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) (NRF-2015R1A2A1A10052520 and NRF-2016R1A4A1012929). S.-Y.C. was supported by the Global Frontier Hybrid Interface Materials (GFHIM) of the NRF of Korea (2013M3A6B1078872). K.S. acknowledges the Fundamental Research Program of the Korean Institute of Materials Science.

Author information




M.-H.J. and S.-Y.S. conceived and designed the project. S.-Y.S. fabricated the devices and performed light-induced doping experiments, as well as electrical characterizations. Jaehyun P. and Jewook P. performed the STM measurements and analysed the data. H.W.Y. provided the STM set-ups. K.S. and S.-Y.C. acquired the STEM images and analysed the data. S.C., S.S. and H.C. carried out the photocurrent measurements. M.-H.J., S.-Y.S. and Jewook P. co-wrote the paper. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Moon-Ho Jo.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests

Additional information

Publisher’s note: Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

Supplementary Figures 1–16 and Supplementary Table 1

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Seo, S., Park, J., Park, J. et al. Writing monolithic integrated circuits on a two-dimensional semiconductor with a scanning light probe. Nat Electron 1, 512–517 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41928-018-0129-6

Download citation

Further reading


Quick links

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter for a daily update on COVID-19 science.
Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing