Nanostructuring transition metal dichalcogenides via non-covalent and covalent molecular functionalization
Graphene is a two-dimensional material that exists of a single layer of carbon atoms. It relates to the natural material, graphite, that is composed of a huge number of stacked graphene layers, just like a phone book consists of a stack of pages. However, the electrical properties of a single graphene layer differ a lot from those of graphite. This insight gave rise to the birth of the so-called two dimensional materials, or 2D materials. Nowadays, there is lot of research to new types of 2D materials. The transition metal dichalcogenides or TMDs form an important new class of TMD materials. In contrast to graphene, single layered TMDs have semiconducting properties, which make them very attractive for new generation of devices. The properties of TMDs can be modified by molecular functionalisation, which is of importance for instance for sensing. Various approaches have been developed, with molecules weakly interacting (called physisorption), or strongly interacting (called chemisorption) with the TMD surface. Despite the nice progress that has been made in this area, there is hardly any knowledge on how to functionalize TMD surfaces with molecules in a nanostructured fashion. Such control could lead though to new properties, or to better sensors. In this project, we will develop new methodologies to nanostructure these TMD surfaces, with molecules, and investigate at the nanoscale their structure and properties.