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Concept: Molybdenum


Proton conductivity of the polymer electrolyte membranes in fuel cells dictates their performance and requires sufficient water management. Here, we report a simple, scalable method to produce well-dispersed transition metal carbide nanoparticles. We demonstrate that these, when added as an additive to the proton exchange Nafion membrane, provide significant enhancement in power density and durability over 100 hours, surpassing both the baseline Nafion and platinum-containing recast Nafion membranes. Focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope tomography reveals the key membrane degradation mechanism. Density functional theory exposes that OH• and H• radicals adsorb more strongly from solution and reactions producing OH• are significantly more endergonic on tungsten carbide than on platinum. Consequently, tungsten carbide may be a promising catalyst in self-hydrating crossover gases while retarding desorption of and capturing free radicals formed at the cathode, resulting in enhanced membrane durability.The proton conductivity of polymer electrolyte membranes in fuel cells dictates their performance, but requires sufficient water management. Here, the authors report a simple method to produce well-dispersed transition metal carbide nanoparticles as additives to enhance the performance of Nafion membranes in fuel cells.

Concepts: Electron, Electrochemistry, Carbon, Molybdenum, Tungsten, Proton exchange membrane fuel cell, Nafion, Proton exchange membrane


Semiconductor heterostructures form the cornerstone of many electronic and optoelectronic devices and are traditionally fabricated using epitaxial growth techniques. More recently, heterostructures have also been obtained by vertical stacking of two-dimensional crystals, such as graphene and related two-dimensional materials. These layered designer materials are held together by van der Waals forces and contain atomically sharp interfaces. Here, we report on a type-II van der Waals heterojunction made of molybdenum disulfide and tungsten diselenide monolayers. The junction is electrically tunable and under appropriate gate bias, an atomically thin diode is realized. Upon optical illumination, charge transfer occurs across the planar interface and the device exhibits a photovoltaic effect. Advances in large-scale production of two-dimensional crystals could thus lead to a new photovoltaic solar technology.

Concepts: Electric charge, Fundamental physics concepts, Van der Waals force, Molybdenum, Semiconductor, Solar cell, Photodiode, Heterojunction


Nano-objects have been investigated for drug delivery, oil detection, contaminant removal, and tribology applications. In some applications, they are subjected to friction and deformation during contact with each other and their surfaces on which they slide. Experimental studies directly comparing local and global deformation are lacking. This research performs nanoindentation (local deformation) and compression tests (global deformation) with a nanoindenter (sharp tip and flat punch, respectively) on molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) multi-walled nanotubes (MWNTs), ~500 nm in diameter. Hardness of the MoS2 nanotube was similar to bulk and does not follow the “smaller is stronger” phenomenon as previously reported for other nano-objects. Tungsten disulfide (WS2) MWNTs, ~300 nm in diameter and carbon nanohorns (CNHs) 80-100 nm in diameter were of interest and also selected for compression studies. These studies aid in understanding the mechanisms involved during global deformation when nano-objects are introduced to reduce friction and wear. For compression, highest loads were required for WS2 nanotubes, then MoS2 nanotubes and CNHs to achieve the same displacement. This was due to the greater number of defects with the MoS2 nanotubes and the flexibility of the CNHs. Repeat compression tests of nano-objects were performed showing a hardening effect for all three nano-objects.

Concepts: Molybdenum, Graphite, Materials science, Sulfide, Friction, Tribology, Tungsten, Lubricant


Two-dimensional (2D) crystals offer a unique platform due to their remarkable and contrasting spintronic properties, such as weak spin-orbit coupling (SOC) in graphene and strong SOC in molybdenum disulfide (MoS2). Here we combine graphene and MoS2 in a van der Waals heterostructure (vdWh) to demonstrate the electric gate control of the spin current and spin lifetime at room temperature. By performing non-local spin valve and Hanle measurements, we unambiguously prove the gate tunability of the spin current and spin lifetime in graphene/MoS2 vdWhs at 300 K. This unprecedented control over the spin parameters by orders of magnitude stems from the gate tuning of the Schottky barrier at the MoS2/graphene interface and MoS2 channel conductivity leading to spin dephasing in high-SOC material. Our findings demonstrate an all-electrical spintronic device at room temperature with the creation, transport and control of the spin in 2D materials heterostructures, which can be key building blocks in future device architectures.

Concepts: Electron, Electricity, Fundamental physics concepts, Spin, Molybdenum, Graphite, Heterojunction, Molybdenum disulfide


We detect electroluminescence in single layer molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) field-effect transistors built on transparent glass substrates. By comparing absorption, photoluminescence, and electroluminescence of the same MoS2 layer, we find that they all involve the same excited state at 1.8eV. The electroluminescence has pronounced threshold behavior and is localized at the contacts. The results show that single layer MoS2, a direct band gap semiconductor, is promising for novel optoelectronic devices, such as 2-dimensional light detectors and emitters.

Concepts: Condensed matter physics, Molybdenum, Semiconductor, Transistor, Solar cell, Photodiode, Band gap, Molybdenum disulfide


To calculate the shear stress needed to remove sessile Listeria monocytogenes cells from stainless steel (SS) and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) surfaces.

Concepts: Molybdenum, Force, Steel, Austenite, Listeria monocytogenes, Stainless steel, Corrosion, Cutlery


Novel MoO(2)/C nano/microcomposites were prepared via a bottom-up approach by hydrothermal carbonization of a solution of glucose as a carbon precursor in the presence of polyoxometalates (POMs: phosphomolybdic acid [H(3)PMo(12)O(40)] and ammonium heptamolybdate tetrahydrate [(NH(4))(6)Mo(7)O(24)]·4H(2)O). The structural characterization by FT-IR, XRPD, SEM and TEM analyses revealed the controlled formation of hierarchical MoO(2)/C composites with different morphologies: strawberry-like, based on carbon microspheres decorated with MoO(2) nanoparticles; MoO(2)/C core-shell composites; and irregular aggregates in combination with ring-like microstructures bearing amorphous Mo species. These composites can be fine-tuned by varying reaction time, glucose/POM ratio and type of POM precursor. Subsequent transformations in the solid state through calcinations of MoO(2)/C core-shell composites in air lead to hollow nanostructured molybdenum trioxide microspheres together with nanorods and plate microcrystals or cauliflower-like composites (MoO(2)/C). In addition, the MoO(2)/C composite undergoes a morphology evolution to urchin-like composites when it is calcined under nitrogen atmosphere (MoO(2)/C-N(2)). The MoO(2)/C strawberry-like and MoO(2)/C-N(2) composites were transformed into Mo carbide and nitride supported on carbon microspheres (Mo(2)C/C, MoN/C, and MoN/C-N(2)). These phases were tested as precursors in thiophene hydrodesulphurization (HDS) at 400 °C, observing the following trend in relation to the thiophene steady-state conversion: MoN/C-N(2) > MoN/C > Mo(2)C/C > MoO(2)/C-N(2) > MoO(2)/C. According to these conversion values, a direct correlation was observed between higher HDS activity and decreasing crystal size as estimated from the Scherrer equation. These results suggest that such composites represent interesting and promising precursors for HDS catalysts, where the activity and stability can be modified either by chemical or structural changes of the composites under different conditions.

Concepts: Oxygen, Crystal, Nitrogen, Nanomaterials, Molybdenum, Composite material, Glass, Ammonium heptamolybdate


Data from National Health and Nutrition Examination survey for the years 2003-2010 were used (n = 1565) to evaluate the effect of age, parity, body mass index (BMI), race/ethnicity, pregnancy, iron (Fe) storage status, smoking status, and fish/shellfish consumption on the levels of urine barium (Ba), cadmium (Cd), cesium (Cs), cobalt (Co), molybdenum (Mo), lead (Pb), antimony (Sb), thallium (TI), tungsten (W), uranium (U), and mercury (Hg) for females aged 17-39 yr old. Regression analysis was used to fit models for each of the 11 metals. For Cd, Cs, TI, and Hg, age was positively associated with levels of these metals. Body mass index was negatively associated with levels of Cs, Co, and TI. Levels of Co, Mo, and W increased over the period 2003-2010. Over the same period, levels of Pb, Sb, and Hg declined. Non-Hispanic blacks showed lower levels of almost all metals compared to either Mexican American or other unclassified race/ethnicities. Non-Hispanic whites displayed higher levels than non-Hispanic blacks for 9 of 11 metals. Smokers displayed significantly higher levels of Pb, Sb, W, and U than nonsmokers but significantly lower levels of Cd and Mo than nonsmokers. Pregnancy was found to be associated with higher levels of Ba, Cs, Co, Mo, Pb, W, and Hg compared to nonpregnant females. Levels of Mo, Cs, and Cd declined significantly during the pregnancy period but levels of Co rose during the same period.

Concepts: Iron, Mass, Body mass index, Metal, Molybdenum, Mercury, Chemical elements, Tungsten


Polymorphism of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides such as molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) exhibit fascinating optical and transport properties. Here, we observe a tunable inverted gap (~0.50 eV) and a fundamental gap (~0.10 eV) in quasimetallic monolayer MoS2. Using spectral-weight transfer analysis, we find that the inverted gap is attributed to the strong charge-lattice coupling in two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (2D-TMDs). A comprehensive experimental study, supported by theoretical calculations, is conducted to understand the transition of monolayer MoS2 on gold film from trigonal semiconducting 1H phase to the distorted octahedral quasimetallic 1T' phase. We clarify that electron doping from gold, facilitated by interfacial tensile strain, is the key mechanism leading to its 1H-1T' phase transition, thus resulting in the formation of the inverted gap. Our result shows the importance of charge-lattice coupling to the intrinsic properties of the inverted gap and polymorphism of MoS2, thereby unlocking new possibilities for 2D-TMD-based device fabrication.MoS2 exhibits multiple electronic properties associated with different crystal structures. Here, the authors observe inverted and fundamental gaps through a designed annealing-based strategy, to induce a semiconductor-to-metal phase transition in monolayer-MoS2 on Au, facilitated by interfacial strain and electron transfer from Au to MoS2.

Concepts: Crystal, Crystal structure, Iron, Fundamental physics concepts, Molybdenum, Transition metal, Sulfide, Molybdenum disulfide


Semiconducting two-dimensional (2D) transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) are promising gas-sensing materials owing to their large surface-to-volume ratio. However, their poor gas-sensing performance resulting from the low response, incomplete recovery, and insufficient selectivity hinders the realization of high-performance 2D TMDC gas sensors. Here, we demonstrate the improvement of gas-sensing performance of large-area tungsten disulfide (WS2) nanosheets through surface functionalization using Ag nanowires (NWs). Large-area WS2 nanosheets were synthesized through atomic layer deposition (ALD) of WO3 followed by sulfurization. The pristine WS2 gas sensors exhibited a significant response to acetone and NO2 but an incomplete recovery in the case of NO2 sensing. After Ag-NW functionalization, the WS2 gas sensor showed dramatically improved response (667%) and recovery upon NO2 exposure. Our results establish that the proposed method is a promising strategy to improve 2D TMDC gas sensors.

Concepts: Better, Improve, Molybdenum, Materials science, Silver, Tungsten, Hafnium, Gas sensors