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Nanomaterials 2018, 8(10), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/nano8100843

Direct Exfoliation of Natural SiO2-Containing Molybdenite in Isopropanol: A Cost Efficient Solution for Large-Scale Production of MoS2 Nanosheetes

1
School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, Inner Mongolia, China
2
School of Earth and Space Sciences, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
3
School of Ecology and Environment, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot 010021, Inner Mongolia, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 8 October 2018 / Accepted: 12 October 2018 / Published: 17 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preparation and Properties of 2D Materials)
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Abstract

The cost-effective exfoliation of layered materials such as transition metal dichalcogenides into mono- or few- layers is of significant interest for various applications. This paper reports the preparation of few-layered MoS2 from natural SiO2-containing molybdenite by exfoliation in isopropanol (IPA) under mild ultrasonic conditions. One- to six-layer MoS2 nanosheets with dimensions in the range of 50-200 nm are obtained. By contrast, MoS2 quantum dots along with nanosheets are produced using N-methyl-pyrrolidone (NMP) and an aqueous solution of poly (ethylene glycol)-block-poly (propylene glycol)-block-poly (ethylene glycol) (P123) as exfoliation solutions. Compared with molybdenite, commercial bulk MoS2 cannot be exfoliated to nanosheets under the same experimental conditions. In the exfoliation process of the mineral, SiO2 associated in molybdenite plays the role of similar superfine ball milling, which significantly enhances the exfoliation efficiency. This work demonstrates that isopropanol can be used to exfoliate natural molybdenite under mild conditions to produce nanosheets, which facilitates the preparation of highly concentrated MoS2 dispersions or MoS2 in powder form due to the volatility of the solvent. Such exfoliated MoS2 nanosheets exhibit excellent photoconductivity under visible light. Hence, the direct mild exfoliation method of unrefined natural molybdenite provides a solution for low-cost and convenient production of few-layered MoS2 which is appealing for industrial applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: natural molybdenite; MoS2 nanosheet; SiO2; liquid exfoliation; photoelectric properties natural molybdenite; MoS2 nanosheet; SiO2; liquid exfoliation; photoelectric properties
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Zhao, W.; Jiang, T.; Shan, Y.; Ding, H.; Shi, J.; Chu, H.; Lu, A. Direct Exfoliation of Natural SiO2-Containing Molybdenite in Isopropanol: A Cost Efficient Solution for Large-Scale Production of MoS2 Nanosheetes. Nanomaterials 2018, 8, 843.

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