Growth of 2D materials and application in electrochemical energy conversion
Ajayan, Pulickel M; Vajtai, Robert
Doctor of Philosophy
The discovery of graphene in 2004 has generated numerous interests among scientists for graphene’s versatile potentials. The enthusiasm for graphene has recently been extended to other members of two-dimensional(2D) materials for applications in electronics, optoelectronics, and catalysis. Different from graphene, atomically-thin transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) have varied band gaps and would benefit for applications in the semiconductor industry. One of the promising applications of 2D TMDs is for 2D integrated circuits to replace current Si based electronics. In addition to electronic applications, 2D materials are also good candidates for electrochemical energy storage and conversion due to their large surface area and atomic thickness. This thesis mainly focuses on the synthesis of 2D materials and their application in energy conversion. Firstly, we focus on the synthesis of two-dimensional Tin Disulfide(SnS2). SnS2 is considered to be a novel material in 2D family. 2D SnS2 has a large band gap (~ 2.8 eV) and high carrier mobility, which makes it a potential applicant for electronics. Monolayer SnS2 with large scale and high crystal quality was successfully synthesized by chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and its performance as a photodetector was examined. The next chapter demonstrated a generic method for growing millimeter-scale single crystals as well as wafer-scale thin films of TMDs. This generic method was obtained by studying the precursors’ behavior and the flow dynamics during the CVD process of growing MoSe2, and was extended to other TMD layers such as millimeter-scale WSe2 single crystals. Understanding the growth processes of high quality large area monolayers of TMDs is crucial for further fundamental research as well as future development for scalable complex electronics. Besides the synthesis of 2D materials with high qualities, we further explored the relationship between defects and electrochemical properties. By directly observing and correlating the microscale structural changes of TMD monolayers such as MoS2 to the catalytic properties, we were able to provide insight on the fundamental catalytic mechanism for hydrogen evolution reaction. Finally, we used the 2D materials to build up 3D architectures, showing excellent performance in energy storage and conversion. For example, we used graphene as a conductive scaffold to support vanadium oxide (V2O5) on nanoscale, and achieved high performances for supercapacitors. Also, we applied the Pt anchored N-doped graphene nanoribbons as the catalyst for methanol electro oxidation, and reported the best performance among Pt/Carbon-based catalysts.