With a semiconducting band gap and high charge carrier mobility, two-dimensional (2D) black phosphorus (BP)-often referred to as phosphorene-holds significant promise for next generation electronics and optoelectronics. However, as a 2D material, it possesses a higher surface area to volume ratio than bulk BP, suggesting that its chemical and thermal stability will be modified. Herein, an atomic-scale microscopic and spectroscopic study is performed to characterize the thermal degradation of mechanically exfoliated 2D BP. From in situ scanning/transmission electron microscopy, decomposition of 2D BP is observed to occur at ∼400 °C in vacuum, in contrast to the 550 °C bulk BP sublimation temperature. This decomposition initiates via eye-shaped cracks along the  direction and then continues until only a thin, amorphous red phosphorus like skeleton remains. In situ electron energy loss spectroscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and energy-loss near-edge structure changes provide quantitative insight into this chemical transformation process.
- black phosphorus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry