Layered transition metal dichalcogenides have distinct physicochemical properties at their edge-terminations. The production of an abundant density of edge structures is, however, impeded by the excess surface energy of edges compared to basal planes and would benefit from insight into the atomic growth mechanisms. Here, we show that edge-terminated MoS2 nanostructures can form during sulfidation of MoO2 nanocrystals by using in situ transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Time-resolved TEM image series reveal that the MoO2 surface can sulfide by inward progression of MoO2(20-2):MoS2(002) interfaces resulting in upright-oriented and edge-exposing MoS2 sheets. This topotactic growth is rationalized in interplay with density functional theory calculations by successive O-S exchange and Mo sublattice restructuring steps. The analysis shows that e-MoS2 formation is energetically favorable at MoO2(110) surfaces and provides a necessary requirement for the propensity of a specific MoO2 surface termination to form edge-terminated MoS2. Thus, the present findings should benefit the rational development of transition metal dichalcogenide nanomaterials with abundant edge-terminations.
- Growth mechanism
- Edge termination
- In situ transmission electron microscopy
- Density functional theory