Self-organized twist-heterostructures via aligned van der Waals epitaxy and solid-state transformations

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Research units

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of Wyoming


Vertical van der Waals (vdW) heterostructures of 2D crystals with defined interlayer twist are of interest for band-structure engineering via twist moiré superlattice potentials. To date, twist-heterostructures have been realized by micromechanical stacking. Direct synthesis is hindered by the tendency toward equilibrium stacking without interlayer twist. Here, we demonstrate that growing a 2D crystal with fixed azimuthal alignment to the substrate followed by transformation of this intermediate enables a potentially scalable synthesis of twisted heterostructures. Microscopy during growth of ultrathin orthorhombic SnS on trigonal SnS2 shows that vdW epitaxy yields azimuthal order even for non-isotypic 2D crystals. Excess sulfur drives a spontaneous transformation of the few-layer SnS to SnS2, whose orientation – rotated 30° against the underlying SnS2 crystal – is defined by the SnS intermediate rather than the substrate. Preferential nucleation of additional SnS on such twisted domains repeats the process, promising the realization of complex twisted stacks by bottom-up synthesis.


Original languageEnglish
Article number5528
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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