skip to main content

Title: Modeling for Structural Engineering and Synthesis of Two Dimensional WSe2 Using a Newly Developed ReaxFF Reactive Force Field
Atomistic simulation techniques have become an indispensable tool to acquire a fundamental understanding of growth and structural characteristics of two-dimensional (2D) materials of interest, thereby accelerating experimental research in the same field. A new ReaxFF reactive force field presented here is the first comprehensive empirical potential that is explicitly designed to capture the most prominent features of 2D WSe2 solid-phase chemistry, such as defect formation as a function of local geometry and chalcogen chemical potential, vacancy migration and phase transition, thus enabling cost-effective and reliable characterization of 2D WSe2 at large length scales and time scales much longer than what is accessible by first-principles theory. This potential, validated using extensive first-principles energetics data on both periodic and nonperiodic systems and experimental measurements, can accurately describe the mechanochemical coupling between monolayer deformations and vacancy energetics, providing valuable atomistic insights into the morphological evolution of a monolayer in different environments in terms of loading conditions and various concentrations and distributions of defects. Since understanding how growth is affected by the local chemical environment is vital to fabricating efficient and functional atomically thin 2D WSe2, the new ReaxFF description enables investigations of edge-controlled growth of single crystals of 2D WSe2 using reactive environments more » closely matching experimental conditions at a low computational cost. « less
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Journal of physical chemistry
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The successful discovery and isolation of graphene in 2004, and the subsequent synthesis of layered semiconductors and heterostructures beyond graphene have led to the exploding field of two-dimensional (2D) materials that explore their growth, new atomic-scale physics, and potential device applications. This review aims to provide an overview of theoretical, computational, and machine learning methods and tools at multiple length and time scales, and discuss how they can be utilized to assist/guide the design and synthesis of 2D materials beyond graphene. We focus on three methods at different length and time scales as follows: (i) nanoscale atomistic simulations including density functional theory (DFT) calculations and molecular dynamics simulations employing empirical and reactive interatomic potentials; (ii) mesoscale methods such as phase-field method; and (iii) macroscale continuum approaches by coupling thermal and chemical transport equations. We discuss how machine learning can be combined with computation and experiments to understand the correlations between structures and properties of 2D materials, and to guide the discovery of new 2D materials. We will also provide an outlook for the applications of computational approaches to 2D materials synthesis and growth in general.

  2. Abstract

    Reproducible wafer-scale growth of two-dimensional (2D) materials using the Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) process with precise control over their properties is challenging due to a lack of understanding of the growth mechanisms spanning over several length scales and sensitivity of the synthesis to subtle changes in growth conditions. A multiscale computational framework coupling Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Phase-Field (PF), and reactive Molecular Dynamics (MD) was developed – called the CPM model – and experimentally verified. Correlation between theoretical predictions and thorough experimental measurements for a Metal-Organic CVD (MOCVD)-grown WSe2model material revealed the full power of this computational approach. Large-area uniform 2D materials are synthesized via MOCVD, guided by computational analyses. The developed computational framework provides the foundation for guiding the synthesis of wafer-scale 2D materials with precise control over the coverage, morphology, and properties, a critical capability for fabricating electronic, optoelectronic, and quantum computing devices.

  3. Defects have a profound impact on the electronic and physical properties of crystals. For two-dimensional (2D) materials, many intrinsic point defects have been reported, but much remains to be understood about their origin. Using scanning transmission electron microscopy imaging, this study discovers various linear arrays of W-vacancy defects that are explained in the context of the crystal growth of coalesced, monolayer WS2. Atomistic-scale simulations show that vacancy arrays can result from steric hindrance of bulky gas-phase precursors at narrowly separated growth edges, and that increasing the edge separation leads to various intact and defective growth modes, which are driven by competition between the catalytic effects of the sapphire substrate and neighboring growth edge. Therefore, we hypothesize that the arrays result from combined growth modes, which directly result from film coalescence. The connections drawn here will guide future synthetic and processing strategies to harness the engineering potential of defects in 2D monolayers.
  4. Molecular insights into graphene-catalyst surface interactions can provide useful information for the efficient design of copper current collectors with graphitic anode interfaces. As graphene bending can affect the local electron density, it should reflect its local reactivity as well. Using ReaxFF reactive molecular simulations, we have investigated the possible bending of graphene in vacuum and near copper surfaces. We describe the energy cost for graphene bending and the binding energy with hydrogen and copper with two different ReaxFF parameter sets, demonstrating the relevance of using the more recently developed ReaxFF parameter sets for graphene properties. Moreover, the draping angle at copper step edges obtained from our atomistic simulations is in good agreement with the draping angle determined from experimental measurements, thus validating the ReaxFF results.
  5. null (Ed.)
    Soft matter that undergoes programmed macroscopic responses to molecular analytes has potential utility in a range of health and safety-related contexts. In this study, we report the design of a nematic liquid crystal (LC) composition that forms through dimerization of carboxylic acids and responds to the presence of vapors of organoamines by undergoing a visually distinct phase transition to an isotropic phase. Specifically, we screened mixtures of two carboxylic acids, 4-butylbenzoic acid and trans-4-pentylcyclohexanecarboxylic acid, and found select compositions that exhibited a nematic phase from 30.6 to 111.7 °C during heating and 110.6 to 3.1 °C during cooling. The metastable nematic phase formed at ambient temperatures was found to be long-lived (>5 days), thus enabling the use of the LC as a chemoresponsive optical material. By comparing experimental infrared (IR) spectra of the LC phase with vibrational frequencies calculated using density functional theory (DFT), we show that it is possible to distinguish between the presence of monomers, homodimers and heterodimers in the mixture, leading us to conclude that a one-to-one heterodimer is the dominant species within this LC composition. Further support for this conclusion is obtained by using differential scanning calorimetry. Exposure of the LC to 12 ppm triethylamine (TEA)more »triggers a phase transition to an isotropic phase, which we show by IR spectroscopy to be driven by an acid-base reaction, leading to the formation of ammonium carboxylate salts. We characterized the dynamics of the phase transition and found that it proceeds via a characteristic spatiotemporal pathway involving the nucleation, growth, and coalescence of isotropic domains, thus amplifying the atomic-scale acid-base reaction into an information-rich optical output. In contrast to TEA, we determined via both experiment and computation that neither hydrogen bonding donor or acceptor molecules, such as water, dimethyl methylphosphonate, ethylene oxide or formaldehyde, disrupt the heterodimers formed in the LC, hinting that the phase transition (including spatial-temporal characteristics of the pathway) induced in this class of hydrogen bonded LC may offer the basis of a facile and chemically selective way of reporting the presence of volatile amines. This proposal is supported by exploratory experiments in which we show that it is possible to trigger a phase transition in the LC by exposure to volatile amines emitted from rotting fish. Overall, these results provide new principles for the design of chemoresponsive soft matter based on hydrogen bonded LCs that may find use as the basis of low-cost visual indicators of chemical environments.« less