LIU Xiaofei, XU Tao, WU Xing, SUN Li-Tao, GUO Wanlin et al. Top–down fabrication of sub-nanometre semiconducting nanoribbons derived from molybdenum disulfide sheets. Nat. Commun. 2013, 4, 1776.

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Top–down fabrication of sub-nanometre semiconducting nanoribbons derived from molybdenum disulfide sheets

State Key Laboratory of Mechanics and Control of Mechanical Structures, Key Laboratory for Intelligent Nano Materials and Devices of Ministry of Education and Institute of Nano Science, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
Xiaofei Liu, Zhuhua Zhang, Jin Yu & Wanlin Guo

SEU-FEI Nano-Pico Center, Key Laboratory of MEMS of Ministry of Education, School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Southeast University, Nanjing 210096, China
Tao Xu, Xing Wu & Li-Tao Sun

National Laboratory of Microstructures, School of Electronic Science and Engineering, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China
Hao Qiu & Xin-Ran Wang

Center for Electron Microscopy, State Key Laboratory of Silicon Materials, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
Jin-Hua Hong, Chuan-Hong Jin & Ji-Xue Li

Corresponding authors
Correspondence to: Wanlin Guo or Li-Tao Sun

Nature Communications 4, Article number: 1776 doi:10.1038/ncomms2803
Received 22 January 2013 Accepted 27 March 2013 Published 30 April 2013

Abstract
Developments in semiconductor technology are propelling the dimensions of devices down to 10 nm, but facing great challenges in manufacture at the sub-10 nm scale. Nanotechnology can fabricate nanoribbons from two-dimensional atomic crystals, such as graphene, with widths below the 10 nm threshold, but their geometries and properties have been hard to control at this scale. Here we find that robust ultrafine molybdenum-sulfide ribbons with a uniform width of 0.35 nm can be widely formed between holes created in a MoS2 sheet under electron irradiation. In situ high-resolution transmission electron microscope characterization, combined with first-principles calculations, identifies the sub-1 nm ribbon as a Mo5S4 crystal derived from MoS2, through a spontaneous phase transition. Further first-principles investigations show that the Mo5S4 ribbon has a band gap of 0.77 eV, a Young’s modulus of 300GPa and can demonstrate 9% tensile strain before fracture. The results show a novel top–down route for controllable fabrication of functional building blocks for sub-nanometre electronics.

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