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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 29, 2024
  2. Abstract

    Lattice reconstruction and corresponding strain accumulation plays a key role in defining the electronic structure of two-dimensional moiré superlattices, including those of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). Imaging of TMD moirés has so far provided a qualitative understanding of this relaxation process in terms of interlayer stacking energy, while models of the underlying deformation mechanisms have relied on simulations. Here, we use interferometric four-dimensional scanning transmission electron microscopy to quantitatively map the mechanical deformations through which reconstruction occurs in small-angle twisted bilayer MoS2and WSe2/MoS2heterobilayers. We provide direct evidence that local rotations govern relaxation for twisted homobilayers, while local dilations are prominent in heterobilayers possessing a sufficiently large lattice mismatch. Encapsulation of the moiré layers in hBN further localizes and enhances these in-plane reconstruction pathways by suppressing out-of-plane corrugation. We also find that extrinsic uniaxial heterostrain, which introduces a lattice constant difference in twisted homobilayers, leads to accumulation and redistribution of reconstruction strain, demonstrating another route to modify the moiré potential.

  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 4, 2024
  4. Abstract

    Electronic and geometric interactions between active and support phases are critical in determining the activity of heterogeneous catalysts, but metal–support interactions are challenging to study. Here, it is demonstrated how the combination of the monolayer‐controlled formation using atomic layer deposition (ALD) and colloidal nanocrystal synthesis methods leads to catalysts with sub‐nanometer precision of active and support phases, thus allowing for the study of the metal–support interactions in detail. The use of this approach in developing a fundamental understanding of support effects in Pd‐catalyzed methane combustion is demonstrated. Uniform Pd nanocrystals are deposited onto Al2O3/SiO2spherical supports prepared with control over morphology and Al2O3layer thicknesses ranging from sub‐monolayer to a ≈4 nm thick uniform coating. Dramatic changes in catalytic activity depending on the coverage and structure of Al2O3situated at the Pd/Al2O3interface are observed, with even a single monolayer of alumina contributing an order of magnitude increase in reaction rate. By building the Pd/Al2O3interface up layer‐by‐layer and using uniform Pd nanocrystals, this work demonstrates the importance of controlled and tunable materials in determining metal–support interactions and catalyst activity.

  5. Nucleation in atomic crystallization remains poorly understood, despite advances in classical nucleation theory. The nucleation process has been described to involve a nonclassical mechanism that includes a spontaneous transition from disordered to crystalline states, but a detailed understanding of dynamics requires further investigation. In situ electron microscopy of heterogeneous nucleation of individual gold nanocrystals with millisecond temporal resolution shows that the early stage of atomic crystallization proceeds through dynamic structural fluctuations between disordered and crystalline states, rather than through a single irreversible transition. Our experimental and theoretical analyses support the idea that structural fluctuations originate from size-dependent thermodynamic stability of the two states in atomic clusters. These findings, based on dynamics in a real atomic system, reshape and improve our understanding of nucleation mechanisms in atomic crystallization.