Surfactant-Mediated Growth and Patterning of Atomically Thin Transition Metal Dichalcogenides

Xufan Li, Ethan Kahn, Ethan Kahn, Gugang Chen, Xiahan Sang, Jincheng Lei, Donata Passarello, Akinola D. Oyedele, Dante Zakhidov, Kai Wen Chen, Yu Xun Chen, Shang Hsien Hsieh, Kazunori Fujisawa, Raymond R. Unocic, Kai Xiao, Alberto Salleo, Michael F. Toney, Chia Hao Chen, Efthimios Kaxiras, Mauricio TerronesBoris I. Yakobson, Avetik R. Harutyunyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The role of additives in facilitating the growth of conventional semiconducting thin films is well-established. Apparently, their presence is also decisive in the growth of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), yet their role remains ambiguous. In this work, we show that the use of sodium bromide enables synthesis of TMD monolayers via a surfactant-mediated growth mechanism, without introducing liquefaction of metal oxide precursors. We discovered that sodium ions provided by sodium bromide chemically passivate edges of growing molybdenum disulfide crystals, relaxing in-plane strains to suppress 3D islanding and promote monolayer growth. To exploit this growth model, molybdenum disulfide monolayers were directly grown into desired patterns using predeposited sodium bromide as a removable template. The surfactant-mediated growth not only extends the families of metal oxide precursors but also offers a way for lithography-free patterning of TMD monolayers on various surfaces to facilitate fabrication of atomically thin electronic devices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6570-6581
Number of pages12
JournalACS nano
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 23 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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