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Nanomaterials (Basel). 2018 Aug 1;8(8). pii: E587. doi: 10.3390/nano8080587.

Scalable Exfoliation of Bulk MoS₂ to Single- and Few-Layers Using Toroidal Taylor Vortices.

Author information

1
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. vishakhakaushik@gmail.com.
2
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. wushunhe@skku.edu.
3
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. kufjang@gmail.com.
4
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. jekang@skku.edu.
5
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. kenkim@skku.edu.
6
School of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. jwsuk@skku.edu.
7
SKKU Advanced Institute of Nanotechnology (SAINT), Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do 16419, Korea. jwsuk@skku.edu.

Abstract

The production of a large amount of high-quality transition metal dichalcogenides is critical for their use in industrial applications. Here, we demonstrate the scalable exfoliation of bulk molybdenum disulfide (MoS₂) powders into single- or few-layer nanosheets using the Taylor-Couette flow. The toroidal Taylor vortices generated in the Taylor-Couette flow provide efficient mixing and high shear stresses on the surfaces of materials, resulting in a more efficient exfoliation of the layered materials. The bulk MoS₂ powders dispersed in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidone (NMP) were exfoliated with the Taylor-Couette flow by varying the process parameters, including the initial concentration of MoS₂ in the NMP, rotation speed of the reactor, reaction time, and temperature. With a batch process at an optimal condition, half of the exfoliated MoS₂ nanosheets were thinner than ~3 nm, corresponding to single to ~4 layers. The spectroscopic and microscopic analysis revealed that the exfoliated MoS₂ nanosheets contained the same quality as the bulk powders without any contamination or modification. Furthermore, the continuous exfoliation of MoS₂ was demonstrated by the Taylor-Couette flow reactor, which produced an exfoliated MoS₂ solution with a concentration of ~0.102 mg/mL. This technique is a promising way for the scalable production of single- or few-layer MoS₂ nanosheets without using hazardous intercalation materials.

KEYWORDS:

Taylor-Couette flow; continuous production; exfoliation; molybdenum disulfide

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