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The Atomic Drill Bit: Precision Controlled Atomic Fabrication of 2D Materials

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Advanced Materials
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The ability to deterministically fabricate nanoscale architectures with atomic precision is the central goal of nanotechnology, whereby highly localized changes in the atomic structure can be exploited to control device properties at their fundamental physical limit. Here, an automated, feedback-controlled atomic fabrication method is reported and the formation of 1D–2D heterostructures in MoS2 is demonstrated through selective transformations along specific crystallographic orientations. The atomic-scale probe of an aberration-corrected scanning transmission electron microscope (STEM) is used, and the shape and symmetry of the scan pathway relative to the sample orientation are controlled. The focused and shaped electron beam is used to reliably create Mo6S6 nanowire (MoS-NW) terminated metallic-semiconductor 1D–2D edge structures within a pristine MoS2 monolayer with atomic precision. From these results, it is found that a triangular beam path aligned along the zig-zag sulfur terminated (ZZS) direction forms stable MoS-NW edge structures with the highest degree of fidelity without resulting in disordering of the surrounding MoS2 monolayer. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations and ab initio molecular dynamic simulations (AIMD) are used to calculate the energetic barriers for the most stable atomic edge structures and atomic transformation pathways. These discoveries provide an automated method to improve understanding of atomic-scale transformations while opening a pathway toward more precise atomic-scale engineering of materials.