Cryo-mediated exfoliation and fracturing of layered materials into 2D quantum dots

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Science Advances  15 Dec 2017:
Vol. 3, no. 12, e1701500
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1701500

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Atomically thin quantum dots from layered materials promise new science and applications, but their scalable synthesis and separation have been challenging. We demonstrate a universal approach for the preparation of quantum dots from a series of materials, such as graphite, MoS2, WS2, h-BN, TiS2, NbS2, Bi2Se3, MoTe2, Sb2Te3, etc., using a cryo-mediated liquid-phase exfoliation and fracturing process. The method relies on liquid nitrogen pretreatment of bulk layered materials before exfoliation and breakdown into atomically thin two-dimensional quantum dots of few-nanometer lateral dimensions, exhibiting size-confined optical properties. This process is efficient for a variety of common solvents with a wide range of surface tension parameters and eliminates the use of surfactants, resulting in pristine quantum dots without surfactant covering or chemical modification.

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