Dislocation motion and grain boundary migration in two-dimensional tungsten disulphide

Amin Azizi, Xiaolong Zou, Peter Ercius, Zhuhua Zhang, Ana Laura Elías, Néstor Perea-López, Greg Stone, Mauricio Terrones, Boris I. Yakobson, Nasim Alem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

189 Scopus citations


Dislocations have a significant effect on mechanical, electronic, magnetic and optical properties of crystals. For a dislocation to migrate in bulk crystals, collective and simultaneous movement of several atoms is needed. In two-dimensional crystals, in contrast, dislocations occur on the surface and can exhibit unique migration dynamics. Dislocation migration has recently been studied in graphene, but no studies have been reported on dislocation dynamics for two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides with unique metal-ligand bonding and a three-atom thickness. This study presents dislocation motion, glide and climb, leading to grain boundary migration in a tungsten disulphide monolayer. Direct atomic-scale imaging coupled with atomistic simulations reveals a strikingly low-energy barrier for glide, leading to significant grain boundary reconstruction in tungsten disulphide. The observed dynamics are unique and different from those reported for graphene. Through strain field mapping, we also demonstrate how dislocations introduce considerable strain along the grain boundaries and at the dislocation cores.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4867
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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