Cleaning of pyrolytic hexagonal boron nitride surfaces

Sean W. King, Robert Nemanich, Robert F. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Hexagonal boron nitride (h-BN) has recently garnered significant interest as a substrate and dielectric for two-dimensional materials and devices based on graphene or transition metal dichalcogenides such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS<inf>2</inf>). As substrate surface impurities and defects can negatively impact the structure and properties of two-dimensional materials, h-BN surface preparation and cleaning are a critical consideration. In this regard, we have utilized X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy to investigate the influence of several ex situ wet chemical and in situ thermal desorption cleaning procedures on pyrolytic h-BN surfaces. Of the various wet chemistries investigated, a 10 : 1 buffered HF solution was found to produce surfaces with the lowest amount of oxygen and carbon contamination. Ultraviolet/ozone oxidation was found to be the most effective ex situ treatment for reducing carbon contamination. Annealing at 1050°C in vacuum or 10<sup>-5</sup> Torr NH<inf>3</inf> was found to further reduce oxygen and carbon contamination to the XPS detection limits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)798-803
Number of pages6
JournalSurface and Interface Analysis
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015



  • 2D materials
  • Boron nitride
  • h-BN
  • Surface cleaning
  • XPS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films

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