Two-dimensional (2D) transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDCs) semiconductors are important for next-generation electronics and optoelectronics. Given the difficulty in growing large single crystals of 2D TMDC materials, understanding the factors affecting the seed formation and orientation becomes an important issue for controlling the growth. Here, we systematically study the growth of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) monolayer on c-plane sapphire with chemical vapor deposition (CVD) to discover the factors controlling their orientation. We show that the concentration of precursors, i.e., the ratio between sulfur and molybdenum oxide (MoO3), plays a key role in the size and orientation of seeds, subsequently controlling the orientation of MoS2 monolayers. High S/MoO3 ratio is needed in the early stage of growth to form small seeds that can align easily to the substrate lattice structures while the ratio should be decreased to enlarge the size of the monolayer at the next stage of the lateral growth. Moreover, we show that the seeds are actually crystalline MoS2 layers as revealed by high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. There exist two preferred orientations (0° or 60°) registered on sapphire, confirmed by our density functional theory (DFT) simulation. This report offers a facile technique to grow highly aligned 2D TMDCs and contributes to knowledge advancement in growth mechanism.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: All authors acknowledge support from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) under Competitive Research Grant (#CRG4-2634) and KAUST Catalyst Center, Saudi Arabia. The simulations were performed on the Shaheen II supercomputer.