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Nanotechnology. 2011 Mar 25;22(12):125706. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/22/12/125706. Epub 2011 Feb 14.

Visibility of dichalcogenide nanolayers.

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Electrical Engineering Institute, School of Engineering, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Dichalcogenides with the common formula MX(2) are layered materials with electrical properties that range from semiconducting to superconducting. Here, we describe optimal imaging conditions for the optical detection of ultrathin, two-dimensional dichalcogenide nanocrystals containing single, double and triple layers of MoS(2), WSe(2) and NbSe(2). A simple optical model is used to calculate the contrast for nanolayers deposited on wafers with varying thicknesses of SiO(2). The model is extended for imaging using the green channel of a video camera. Using AFM and optical imaging we confirm that single layers of MoS(2) and WSe(2) can be detected on 90 and 270 nm SiO(2) using optical means. By measuring contrast under broadband green illumination we are also able to distinguish between nanostructures containing single, double and triple layers of MoS(2) and WSe(2.) We observe and discuss discrepancies in the case of NbSe(2).

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