Direct synthesis of metastable phases of 2D transition metal dichalcogenides
The different polymorphic phases of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) have attracted enormous interest in the last decade. The metastable metallic and small band gap phases of group VI TMDs displayed leading performance for electrocatalytic hydrogen evolution, high volumetric capacitance and some of them exhibit large gap quantum spin Hall (QSH) insulating behaviour. Metastable 1T(1T′) phases require higher formation energy, as compared to the thermodynamically stable 2H phase, thus in standard chemical vapour deposition and vapour transport processes the materials normally grow in the 2H phases. Only destabilization of their 2H phase via external means, such as charge transfer or high electric field, allows the conversion of the crystal structure into the 1T(1T′) phase. Bottom-up synthesis of materials in the 1T(1T′) phases in measurable quantities would broaden their prospective applications and practical utilization. There is an emerging evidence that some of these 1T(1T′) phases can be directly synthesized via bottom-up vapour- and liquid-phase methods. This review will provide an overview of the synthesis strategies which have been designed to achieve the crystal phase control in TMDs, and the chemical mechanisms that can drive the synthesis of metastable phases. We will provide a critical comparison between growth pathways in vapour- and liquid-phase synthesis techniques. Morphological and chemical characteristics of synthesized materials will be described along with their ability to act as electrocatalysts for the hydrogen evolution reaction from water. Phase stability and reversibility will be discussed and new potential applications will be introduced. This review aims at providing insights into the fundamental understanding of the favourable synthetic conditions for the stabilization of metastable TMD crystals and at stimulating future advancements in the field of large-scale synthesis of materials with crystal phase control.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Electrochemistry in Energy Storage and Conversion