Abrupt Thermal Shock of (NH4)2Mo3S13 Leads to Ultrafast Synthesis of Porous Ensembles of MoS2 Nanocrystals for High Gain Photodetectors

Saiful M. Islam, Vinod K. Sangwan, Yuan Li, Joohoon Kang, Xiaomi Zhang, Yihui He, Jing Zhao, Akshay Murthy, Shulan Ma, Vinayak P. Dravid, Mark C Hersam, Mercouri G Kanatzidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ultrafast synthesis of high-quality transition-metal dichalcogenide nanocrystals, such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), is technologically relevant for large-scale production of electronic and optoelectronic devices. Here, we report a rapid solid-state synthesis route for MoS2 using the chemically homogeneous molecular precursor, (NH4)2Mo3S13·H2O, resulting in nanoparticles with estimated size down to 25 nm only in 10 s at 1000 °C. Despite the extreme nonequilibrium conditions, the resulting porous MoS2 nanoparticles remain aggregated to preserve the form of the original rod shape bulk morphology of the molecular precursor. This ultrafast synthesis proceeds through the rapid decomposition of the precursor and rearrangement of Mo and S atoms coupled with simultaneous efficient release of massive gaseous species, to create nanoscale porosity in the resulting isomorphic pseudocrystals, which are composed of the MoS2 nanoparticles. Despite the very rapid escape of massive amounts of NH3, H2O, H2S, and S gases from the (NH4)2Mo3S13·H2O mm sized crystals, they retain their original shape as they convert to MoS2 rather than undergo explosive destruction from the rapid escape process of the gases. The obtained pseudocrystals are made of aggregated MoS2 nanocrystals exhibit a Brunauer-Emmett-Teller surface area of ∼35 m2/g with an adsorption average pore width of ∼160 Å. The nanoporous MoS2 crystals are solution processable by dispersing in ethanol and water and can be cast into large-area uniform composite films. Photodetectors fabricated from these films show more than 2 orders of magnitude higher conductivity (∼6.25 × 10-6 S/cm) and photoconductive gain (20 mA/W) than previous reports of MoS2 composite films. The optoelectronic properties of this nanoporous MoS2 imply that the shallow defects that originate from the ultrafast synthesis act as sensitizing centers that increase the photocurrent gain via two-level recombination kinetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38193-38200
Number of pages8
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2018


  • photodetector
  • porous MoS nanocrystal
  • solid-state synthesis
  • thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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