Faculty Publications

Natural formation of linear defect structures in MoS2

Document Type


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Applied Physics Letters






Near surface defects can significantly impact the quality of metallic interconnects and other interfaces necessary to create device structures incorporating two-dimensional materials. Furthermore, the impact of such defects can strongly depend on their organization. In this study, we present scanning tunneling microscopy images and tunneling spectroscopy of point and linear defects near the surface of natural MoS2. The point defects share similar structural and electronic characteristics and occur with comparable frequency as subsurface sulfur vacancies observed previously on natural MoS2. The linear defects observed here occur less frequently than the point defects but share the same depth profile and electronic structure. These data indicate that the linear defects are actually a one-dimensional organization of subsurface sulfur vacancies. Our density functional calculations agree with this assessment in that, for sufficient local defect concentrations, it is energetically more favorable for the defects to be organized in a linear fashion rather than as clusters or even isolated single point defects. Given these measurements were taken from naturally formed MoS2, this organization likely occurs during crystal formation. Considering the impact of one-dimensional organization on the local properties of layered materials, and the potential for them to be introduced purposefully during crystal formation, research into the formation mechanism and properties of these defects could enable new paths for defect engineering in MoS2-based systems.


Department of Physics

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