Scanning tunneling microscope induced crystallization of fullerene-like MoS2

M. Homyonfer, Y. Mastai, M. Hershfinkel, V. Volterra, J. L. Hutchison, R. Tenne

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Amorphous precursors, like MoS3 (WS3), were shown before to be an ideal precursor for the growth of inorganic fullerene-like material in a rather slow crystallization process which lasts anything from 1 h at 800-900 °C to a few years at ambient conditions. Using a few microsecond short electrical pulses from the tip of a scanning tunneling microscope, crystallization of amorphous MoS3 (a-MoS3) nanoparticles, which were electrodeposited on a Au substrate into MoS2 nanocrystallites with a fullerene-like structure (IF-MoS2), is demonstrated. The (outer) shell of each nanocrystallite is complete, which suggests that the reaction extinguishes itself upon completion of the crystallization of the MoS2 layers. A completely different mode of crystallization is observed in the case of continuous a-MoS3 films. Here tiny (2-3 nm thick) 2H-MoS2 platelets are observed after the electrical pulse, suggesting a very rapid dissipation of the thermal energy through the gold substrate, in the continuous domain. Since the reaction mechanism in both cases is believed to be the same, it is likely that the main stimulus for the chemical reaction/crystallization of the IF material results from the slow heat dissipation from the nanoparticle. The exothermicity of the chemical reaction may further promote the rate of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7804-7808
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number33
StatePublished - 21 Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes


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