The influence of crystal thickness and interlayer interactions on the properties of heavy ion irradiated MoS2

Aliaksandr Baidak, Cinzia Casiraghi, Liam Isherwood, Ben Spencer, Samir De Moraes Shubeita, Paul Wady

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ion irradiation is a versatile tool to introduce controlled defects into two-dimensional (2D) MoS2 on account of its unique spatial resolution and plethora of ion types and energies available. In order to fully realise the potential of this technique, a holistic understanding of ion-induced defect production in 2D MoS2 crystals of different thicknesses is mandatory. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, electron diffraction and Raman spectroscopy show that thinner MoS2 crystals are more susceptible to radiation damage caused by 225 keV Xe+ ions. However, the rate of defect production in quadrilayer and bulk crystals is not significantly different under our experimental conditions. The rate at which S atoms are sputtered as a function of radiation exposure is considerably higher for monolayer MoS2, compared to bulk crystals, leading to MoO3 formation. P-doping of MoS2 is observed and attributed to the acceptor states introduced by vacancies and charge transfer interactions with adsorbed species. Moreover, the out-of-plane vibrational properties of irradiated MoS2 crystals are shown to be strongly thickness-dependent: in mono- and bilayer MoS2, the confinement of phonons by defects results in a blueshift of the mode. Whereas, a redshift is observed in bulk crystals due to attenuation of the effective restoring forces acting on S atoms caused by vacancies in adjacent MoS2 layers. Consequently, the frequency of tri- and quadrilayer crystals is statistically invariant on account oft competition between phonon confinement effects and interlayer interactions. The linewidth is observed to decrease in bi- and trilayer crystals after low dose irradiation and is attributed to layer decoupling. This work shows that there is a complex interplay between defect production, crystal thickness and interlayer interactions in MoS2. Our results demonstrate that ion irradiation is an effective tool to modulate the electronic, vibrational and structural properties of MoS2, which may prove beneficial for practical applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number7
Pages (from-to)035011
Number of pages15
Journal2 D Materials
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Dalton Nuclear Institute
  • Henry Royce Institute


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