Editors’ Choice—Atomic Layer Etching of Tungsten Disulfide Using Remote Plasma-Induced Oxidation and Wet Etching

Younghyun You, Jehwan Park, Jihyun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


WS2 is an emerging semiconductor with potential applications in next-generation device architecture owing to its excellent electrical and physical properties. However, the presence of inevitable surface contaminants and oxide layers limits the performance of WS2-based field-effect transistors (FETs); therefore, novel methods are required to restore the pristine WS2 surface. In this study, the thickness of a WS2 layer was adjusted and its surface was restored to a pristine state by fabricating a recessed-channel structure through a combination of self-limiting remote plasma oxidation and KOH solution etching processes. The reaction between the KOH solution and WOX enabled layer-by-layer thickness control as the topmost oxide layer was selectively removed during the wet-etching process. The thickness of the WS2 layer decreased linearly with the number of recess cycles, and the vertical etch rate was estimated to be approximately 0.65 nm cycle−1. Micro-Raman spectroscopy and high-resolution transmission electron microscopy revealed that the layer-by-layer etching process had a nominal effect on the crystallinity of the underlying WS2 channel. Finally, the pristine state was recovered by removing ambient molecules and oxide layers from the surface of the WS2 channel, which resulted in a high-performance FET with a current on/off ratio greater than 106. This method, which provides a facile approach to restoring the pristine surfaces of transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) semiconductors with precise thickness control, has potential applications in various fields such as TMDC-based (opto)electronic and sensor devices.

Original languageEnglish
Article number075009
JournalECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Jul
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was financially supported by the K-Sensor Development Program (No. RS-2022–00154729) funded by the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy (MOTIE), a Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) grant funded by the Korean Government (P0012451, The Competency Development Program for Industry Specialist), and a Korea Research Institute for Defense Technology Planning and Advancement (KRIT) grant funded by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) (KRIT-CT-22-046).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 The Author(s). Published on behalf of The Electrochemical Society by IOP Publishing Limited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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