Atomically Thin Stripes in Monolayer Sheets

The chemical similarity of molybdenum & tungsten suggests they should randomly distribute in WxMo1-xS2, a material of great interest for next-generation elec-tronics. The 2DCC discovered that these atoms actually form thin chains, whose very different masses make properties like heat conduction anisotropic. Stripes form due to fluctuations in the availability of sulfur, the third element in WxMo1-xS2. Paradoxically, the disorder of random sulfur variations produces ordered stripes of metal. Such ‘order from disorder’ could be a general way to create atomic order in 2D materials, extending to the 2D domain the types of structures known from 3D semiconductor as “quantum wells.”