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Nat Nanotechnol ; 2020 Jan 27.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31988508


It has recently been shown that sulfur, a solid material in its elementary form S8, can stay in a supercooled state as liquid sulfur in an electrochemical cell. We establish that this newly discovered state could have implications for lithium-sulfur batteries. Here, through in situ studies of electrochemical sulfur generation, we show that liquid (supercooled) and solid elementary sulfur possess very different areal capacities over the same charging period. To control the physical state of sulfur, we studied its growth on two-dimensional layered materials. We found that on the basal plane, only liquid sulfur accumulates; by contrast, at the edge sites, liquid sulfur accumulates if the thickness of the two-dimensional material is small, whereas solid sulfur nucleates if the thickness is large (tens of nanometres). Correlating the sulfur states with their respective areal capacities, as well as controlling the growth of sulfur on two-dimensional materials, could provide insights for the design of future lithium-sulfur batteries.

Nat Mater ; 15(11): 1166-1171, 2016 11.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27571451


The spectrum of two-dimensional (2D) and layered materials 'beyond graphene' offers a remarkable platform to study new phenomena in condensed matter physics. Among these materials, layered hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), with its wide bandgap energy (∼5.0-6.0 eV), has clearly established that 2D nitrides are key to advancing 2D devices. A gap, however, remains between the theoretical prediction of 2D nitrides 'beyond hBN' and experimental realization of such structures. Here we demonstrate the synthesis of 2D gallium nitride (GaN) via a migration-enhanced encapsulated growth (MEEG) technique utilizing epitaxial graphene. We theoretically predict and experimentally validate that the atomic structure of 2D GaN grown via MEEG is notably different from reported theory. Moreover, we establish that graphene plays a critical role in stabilizing the direct-bandgap (nearly 5.0 eV), 2D buckled structure. Our results provide a foundation for discovery and stabilization of 2D nitrides that are difficult to prepare via traditional synthesis.

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces ; 8(34): 22190-5, 2016 Aug 31.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27500662


Layered materials, especially the transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), are of interest for a broad range of applications. Among the class of TMDs, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is perhaps the most studied because of its natural abundance and use in optoelectronics, energy storage and energy conversion applications. Understanding the fundamental structure-property relations is key for tailoring the enhancement in the above-mentioned applications. Here, we report a controlled powder vaporization synthesis of MoS2 flower-like structures consisting of vertically grown layers of MoS2 exhibiting exposed edges. This growth is readily achievable on multiple substrates, such as graphite, silicon, and silicon dioxide. The resulting MoS2 flowers are highly crystalline and stoichiometric. Further observations using contact angle indicate that MoS2 flowers exhibit the highest reported contact angle of ∼160 ± 10°, making the material super hydrophobic. This surface wettability was further tuned by changing the edge chemistry of the MoS2 flowers using an ozone etching treatment. Hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) measurements indicate that the surface treated with UV-ozone showed a reduction in the Tafel slope from 185 to 54 mV/dec, suggesting an increase in the amount of reactive surface to generate hydrogen.