Tunnel spectroscopy of localised electronic states in hexagonal boron nitride
Hexagonal boron nitride is a large band gap layered crystal, frequently incorporated in van der Waals heterostructures as an insulating or tunnel barrier. Localised states with energies within its band gap can emit visible light, relevant to applications in nanophotonics and quantum information processing. However, they also give rise to conducting channels, which can induce electrical breakdown when a large voltage is applied. Here we use gated tunnel transistors to study resonant electron tunnelling through the localised states in few atomic-layer boron nitride barriers sandwiched between two monolayer graphene electrodes. The measurements are used to determine the energy, linewidth, tunnelling transmission probability, and depth within the barrier of more than 50 distinct localised states. A three-step process of electron percolation through two spatially separated localised states is also investigated.