Growth, structure and stability of sputter-deposited MoS2 thin films

Reinhard Kaindl, Bernhard C. Bayer, Roland Resel, Thomas Müller, Viera Skakalova, Gerlinde Habler, Rainer Abart, Alexey S. Cherevan, Dominik Eder, Maxime Blatter, Fabian Fischer, Jannik C. Meyer, Dmitry K. Polyushkin, Wolfgang Waldhauser

Molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) thin films have received increasing interest as device-active layers in low-dimensional electronics and also as novel catalysts in electrochemical processes such as the hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) in electrochemical water splitting. For both types of applications, industrially scalable fabrication methods with good control over the MoS2 film properties are crucial. Here, we investigate scalable physical vapour deposition (PVD) of MoS2 films by magnetron sputtering. MoS2 films with thicknesses from approximate to 10 to approximate to 1000 nm were deposited on SiO2/Si and reticulated vitreous carbon (RVC) substrates. Samples deposited at room temperature (RT) and at 400 degrees C were compared. The deposited MoS2 was characterized by macro- and microscopic X-ray, electron beam and light scattering, scanning and spectroscopic methods as well as electrical device characterization. We find that room-temperature-deposited MoS2 films are amorphous, of smooth surface morphology and easily degraded upon moderate laser-induced annealing in ambient conditions. In contrast, films deposited at 400 degrees C are nano-crystalline, show a nano-grained surface morphology and are comparatively stable against laser-induced degradation. Interestingly, results from electrical transport measurements indicate an unexpected metallic-like conduction character of the studied PVD MoS2 films, independent of deposition temperature. Possible reasons for these unusual electrical properties of our PVD MoS2 thin films are discussed. A potential application for such conductive nanostructured MoS2 films could be as catalytically active electrodes in (photo-)electrocatalysis and initial electrochemical measurements suggest directions for future work on our PVD MoS2 films.

Physics of Nanostructured Materials, Department of Lithospheric Research
External organisation(s)
JOANNEUM RESEARCH Forschungsgesellschaft mbH, Technische Universität Graz, Technische Universität Wien, Danubia NanoTech, HES SO Valais Wallis
Beilstein Journal of Nanotechnology
No. of pages
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
Materials chemistry, Solid state physics, Surface physics
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