Preparation and characterization of WS2@SiO2 and WS2@PANI core-shell nanocomposites

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Two tungsten disulfide (WS2)-based core-shell nanocomposites were fabricated using readily available reagents and simple procedures. The surface was pre-treated with a surfactant couple in a layer-by-layer approach, enabling good dispersion of the WS2 nanostructures in aqueous media and providing a template for the polymerization of a silica (SiO2) shell. After a Stöber-like reaction, a conformal silica coating was achieved. Inspired by the resulting nanocomposite, a second one was prepared by reacting the surfactant-modified WS2 nanostructures with aniline and an oxidizing agent in an aqueous medium. Here too, a conformal coating of polyaniline (PANI) was obtained, giving a WS2@PANI nanocomposite. Both nanocomposites were analyzed by electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and FTIR, verifying the core-shell structure and the character of shells. The silica shell was amorphous and mesoporous and the surface area of the composite increases with shell thickness. Polyaniline shells slightly differ in their morphologies dependent on the acid used in the polymerization process and are amorphous like the silica shell. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of the WS2@PANI nanocomposite showed variation between bulk PANI and the PANI shell. These two nanocomposites have great potential to expand the use of transition metals dichalcogenides (TMDCs) for new applications in different fields.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


Acknowledgments: We thank NanoMaterials Ltd. for their generous gift of WS2 nanotubes and fullerene-like nanoparticles. We thank the Israel National Nanotechnology Initiative for partial funding of this research. We thank Merav Muallem, Ortal Lidor-Shalev and Netanel Shpigel (Bar-Ilan University, Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials) for dedicating the time to provide us with their kind and professional help in producing the HRSEM images and EDS analysis for this paper. We deeply thank Ronit Lavi (Bar Ilan University, Department of Chemistry) for her extensive help with EPR analysis and for providing us with her enlightening input.

FundersFunder number
National Nanotechnology Initiative


    • Core-shell
    • Functionalization
    • Polyaniline
    • Silica
    • WS


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