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Strain-Induced Growth of Twisted Bilayers during the Coalescence of Monolayer MoS 2 Crystals...

Publication Type
Journal Name
ACS Nano
Publication Date
Page Numbers
4504 to 4517

Tailoring the grain boundaries (GBs) and twist angles between two-dimensional (2D) crystals are two crucial synthetic challenges to deterministically enable envisioned applications such as moiré excitons, emerging magnetism, or single-photon emission. Here, we reveal how twisted 2D bilayers can be synthesized from the collision and coalescence of two growing monolayer MoS2 crystals during chemical vapor deposition. The twisted bilayer (TB) moiré angles are found to preserve the misorientation angle (θ) of the colliding crystals. The shapes of the TB regions are rationalized by a kink propagation model that predicts the GB formed by the coalescing crystals. Optical spectroscopy measurements reveal a θ-dependent long-range strain in crystals with stitched grain boundaries and a sharp (θ > 20°) threshold for the appearance of TBs, which relieves this strain. Reactive molecular dynamics simulations explain this strain from the continued growth of the crystals during coalescence due to the insertion of atoms at unsaturated defects along the GB, a process that self-terminates when the defects become saturated. The simulations also reproduce atomic-resolution electron microscopy observations of faceting along the GB, which is shown to arise from the growth-induced long-range strain. These facets align with the axes of the colliding crystals to provide favorable nucleation sites for second-layer growth of a TB with twist angles that preserve the misorientation angle θ. This interplay between strain generation and aligned nucleation provides a synthetic pathway for the growth of TBs with deterministic angles.