Quantification of alloy atomic composition sites in 2D ternary MoS2(1-x)Se2x and their role in persistent photoconductivity, enhanced photoresponse and photo-electrocatalysis

Ravi K. Biroju, Dipak Maity, Viliam Vretenár, Ľubomír Vančo, Rahul Sharma, Mihir Ranjan Sahoo, Jitendra Kumar, G. Gayathri, Tharangattu N. Narayanan, Saroj Kumar Nayak

In: Materials Today Advances, Volume 22, 2024, 100504



Engineering transition metal dichalcogenides-based semiconducting two-dimensional (2D) layered materials for photo(electro)chemical (PEC) hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) by water splitting is an enduring challenge. Here, alloy-assisted photoconductivity and photoresponse from CVD-grown MoS2(1-x)Se2x (MSSE) 2D ternary atomic layered alloy-based photodetector device is presented for the realization of PEC HER. The explicit role of ‘S–Se’ and ‘Se2’ atomic alloy sites including chalcogen-induced vacancy defects on the photoconductivity/photoresponse and PEC HER performance of MSSE 2D alloy is investigated. Alloy formation, atomic site-by-site ‘Se’ composition and atomic structure are characterized using Raman/Photoluminescence (PL) spectroscopy, high-angle annular dark field (HAADF)- scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) extensively and supported with Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) mapping. Further, the local density and concentration of S–Se, Se2 atomic sites and defects were quantitatively estimated using HAADF-STEM image analysis in correlation with AES and it is found between the range of ∼15–20 % in MSSE alloy. A 10-fold high photoresponsivity in the case of MSSE concerning as-grown MS having fast photocurrent growth time and the prolonged decay time originates from the ‘Se’ and this alloy assisted states to enhance the PEC performance of MSSE alloy. The enhanced PEC HER activity of MSSE alloy was identified in terms of overpotential and current density. In addition, increased density of states as a function of ‘Se’ alloying, shifts in a p-band centre and lowers ΔGH* according to density functional theory calculations, which makes MSSE alloy an efficient HER activity. Further, the PEC stability and presence of the ‘S–Se’ and ‘Se2’ alloying and their role towards HER have been correlated by the spectral line shape analysis of PL and Raman spectra from post-PEC HER catalysts. These experimental and theoretical findings establish the role of chalcogen, and transition metal-based 2D alloy, leading to the design of new PECs of engineered 2D atomic layer interfaces.