Thermally driven homonuclear-stacking phase of MoS2 through desulfurization
Engineering phase transitions or finding new polymorphs offers tremendous opportunities for developing functional materials. We reveal that the thermally driven desulfurization of single-crystalline MoS2 samples improves transport properties by reducing the band gap and further induces metallization. Semi-desulfurization, i.e., removal of the topmost S layer, results in the placement of the exposed Mo layers directly on top of the following sub-layers, together with the bottom S layer of the top layer. This homonuclear (AA) stacking derived from the AA′ stacking of the hexagonal (2H) phase is retained even after further desulfurization of the remaining bottom S layer, i.e., full desulfurization of the top layer. Our findings fundamentally explain why the 2H phase of TMDs is characterized by AA′ stacking.