Cryo-mediated exfoliation and fracturing of layered materials into 2D quantum dots
Atomically thin quantum dots from layered materials promise new science and applications, but their scalable synthesis and separation have been challenging. We demonstrate a universal approach for the preparation of quantum dots from a series of materials, such as graphite, MoS2, WS2, h-BN, TiS2, NbS2, Bi2Se3, MoTe2, Sb2Te3, etc., using a cryo-mediated liquid-phase exfoliation and fracturing process. The method relies on liquid nitrogen pretreatment of bulk layered materials before exfoliation and breakdown into atomically thin two-dimensional quantum dots of few-nanometer lateral dimensions, exhibiting size-confined optical properties. This process is efficient for a variety of common solvents with a wide range of surface tension parameters and eliminates the use of surfactants, resulting in pristine quantum dots without surfactant covering or chemical modification.