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Open AccessArticle

Two-Step Exfoliation of WS2 for NO2, H2 and Humidity Sensing Applications

Department of Industrial and Information Engineering and Economics, Via G. Gronchi 18, University of L’Aquila, I-67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Department of Physical and Chemical Sciences, Via Vetoio 10, University of L’Aquila, I-67100 L’Aquila, Italy
CNR-SPIN Uos L’Aquila, Via Vetoio 10, I-67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nanomaterials 2019, 9(10), 1363;
Received: 30 August 2019 / Revised: 11 September 2019 / Accepted: 17 September 2019 / Published: 24 September 2019
WS2 exfoliated by a combined ball milling and sonication technique to produce few-layer WS2 is characterized and assembled as chemo-resistive NO2, H2 and humidity sensors. Microstructural analyses reveal flakes with average dimensions of 110 nm, “aspect ratio” of lateral dimension to the thickness of 27. Due to spontaneous oxidation of exfoliated WS2 to amorphous WO3, films have been pre-annealed at 180 °C to stabilize WO3 content at ≈58%, as determined by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), Raman and grazing incidence X-ray Diffraction (XRD) techniques. Microstructural analysis repeated after one-year conditioning highlighted that amorphous WO3 concentration is stable, attesting the validity of the pre-annealing procedure. WS2 films were NO2, H2 and humidity tested at 150 °C operating Temperature (OT), exhibiting experimental detection limits of 200 ppb and 5 ppm to NO2 and H2 in dry air, respectively. Long-term stability of the electrical response recorded over one year of sustained conditions at 150 °C OT and different gases demonstrated good reproducibility of the electrical signal. The role played by WO3 and WS2 upon gas response has been addressed and a likely reaction gas-mechanism presented. Controlling the microstructure and surface oxidation of exfoliated Transition Metal Dichalcogenides (TMDs) represents a stepping-stone to assess the reproducibility and long-term response of TMDs monolayers in gas sensing applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: 2D-materials; WS2; exfoliation; gas sensors; NO2; H2; cross sensitivity 2D-materials; WS2; exfoliation; gas sensors; NO2; H2; cross sensitivity
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MDPI and ACS Style

Paolucci, V.; Emamjomeh, S.M.; Nardone, M.; Ottaviano, L.; Cantalini, C. Two-Step Exfoliation of WS2 for NO2, H2 and Humidity Sensing Applications. Nanomaterials 2019, 9, 1363.

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