Shaping two-dimensional (2D) materials in arbitrarily complex geometries is a key to designing their unique physical properties in a controlled fashion. This is an elegant solution, taking benefit from the extreme flexibility of the 2D layers but requiring the ability to force their spatial arrangement from flat to curved geometries in a delicate balance among free-energy contributions from strain, slip-and-shear mechanisms, and adhesion to the substrate. Here, we report on a chemical vapor deposition approach, which takes advantage of the surfactant effects of organic molecules, namely the tetrapotassium salt of perylene-3,4,9,10-tetracarboxylic acid (PTAS), to conformally grow atomically thin layers of molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) on arbitrarily nanopatterned substrates. Using atomically resolved transmission electron microscope images and density functional theory calculations, we show that the most energetically favorable condition for the MoS2 layers consists of its adaptation to the local curvature of the patterned substrate through a shear-and-slip mechanism rather than strain accumulation. This conclusion also reveals that the perylene-based molecules have a role in promoting the adhesion of the layers onto the substrate, no matter the local-scale geometry.
17 Nov 2022
Volume: 12 Issue: 22 Pages: 4050