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Remote epitaxy

Abstract

Remote epitaxy is an emerging technology for producing single-crystalline, free-standing thin films and structures. The method uses 2D van der Waals materials as semi-transparent interlayers that enable epitaxy and release of epitaxial layers at the 2D layer interface. Although the principle of remote epitaxy is simple, it is often challenging to perform owing to stringent requirements for sample preparation and procedure control. This Primer provides extensive guidelines on remote epitaxy techniques, from preparing 2D materials to epitaxy processes and layer transfer methods. Depending on the material of interest, the procedure used can vary, which affects the quality. Consequently, in this Primer, key considerations and characterization techniques are provided for respective families of materials. These are intended as a stepping stone to expand the available material choice and improve the quality of materials grown by remote epitaxy. Lastly, the current limitations, possible solutions and future directions of remote epitaxy and its applications are discussed.

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Fig. 1: Remote epitaxy and layer transfer process.
Fig. 2: Equipment for remote epitaxy.
Fig. 3: Characterization of graphene.
Fig. 4: Characterization of remote epitaxial thin films.
Fig. 5: Growth mechanism of ionic and remote epitaxy, and halide perovskite thin film characterization.
Fig. 6: Characterization of microstructures.
Fig. 7: Applications of remote epitaxy.
Fig. 8: Challenges in remote epitaxy.

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Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Young Faculty Award (award no. 029584-00001), the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Office (award no. DE-EE0008558) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (no. FA9453-21-C-0717). H.S.K. acknowledges support by Yonsei University Research Fund of 2021-22-0338. Y.J.H. and J. Jeong acknowledge support by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Korea (NRF-2021R1A5A1032996; 2020R1F1A1074477).

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Contributions

Introduction (H.K. and J.K.); Experimentation (all authors); Results (C.S.C., S.L., J. Jiang and J.S.); Applications (all authors); Reproducibility and data deposition (Y.M. and S.-H.B.); Limitations and optimizations (M.P., K.L., J. Ji, Y.K. and H.S.K.); Outlook (H.K. and J.K.); Overview of the Primer (all authors).

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Correspondence to Wei Kong, Hyun S. Kum, Sang-Hoon Bae, Kyusang Lee, Young Joon Hong, Jian Shi or Jeehwan Kim.

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Nature Reviews Methods Primers thanks Zhaolong Chen and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Glossary

Epitaxial layer

The thin and planar layer of a film formed by an epitaxy process, often abbreviated as epilayer.

Van der Waals (vdW) materials

Materials with strong in-plane atomic bonds but weak out-of-plane vdW interactions.

Electrostatic potential

The amount of work needed to move an electric charge.

2D material-based layer transfer

Exfoliation and transfer of layers at the interface formed by 2D materials.

Wet transfer process

Transfer of 2D materials onto a target substrate in liquid.

Dry transfer process

Transfer of 2D materials onto a target substrate without liquid at the interface between the 2D material and the substrate.

Direct growth

The formation of materials directly on the target substrate instead of forming them elsewhere and then transferring them onto the target substrate.

III–V compound semiconductors

Compound semiconductors composed of group III (such as aluminium, gallium, indium) and group V (such as arsenic, phosphorus, antimony), typically forming zinc-blende crystal structures.

III–N

A special form of III–V compound semiconductors with nitrogen as a group V element, typically forming wurtzite crystal structures.

Pulsed laser deposition

An epitaxial growth technique that uses short pulses of high-intensity lasers to ablate a polycrystalline target material onto a single-crystalline substrate.

Pockels coefficient

A coefficient that quantifies the phenomena in which the refractive index of a medium changes proportional to the strength of the applied electric field.

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Kim, H., Chang, C.S., Lee, S. et al. Remote epitaxy. Nat Rev Methods Primers 2, 40 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s43586-022-00122-w

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