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SCIENTIFIC HIGHLIGHTS

Metastable Polymorphic Phases in Monolayer TaTe2
06 October 2023
Polymorphic phases and collective phenomena—such as charge density waves (CDWs)—in transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) dictate the physical and electronic properties of the material. Most TMDs naturally occur in a single given phase, but the fine-tuning of growth conditions via methods such as molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) allows to unlock otherwise inaccessible polymorphic structures. Exploring and understanding the morphological and electronic properties of new phases of TMDs is an essential step to enable their exploitation in technological applications.
Here, scanning tunneling microscopy (STM) is used to map MBE-grown monolayer (ML) TaTe2. This work reports the first observation of the 1H polymorphic phase, coexisting with the 1T, and demonstrates that their relative coverage can be controlled by adjusting synthesis parameters. Several superperiodic structures, compatible with CDWs, are observed to coexist on the 1T phase. Finally, this work provides theoretical insight on the delicate balance between Te…Te and Ta–Ta interactions that dictates the stability of the different phases. The findings demonstrate that TaTe2 is an ideal platform to investigate competing interactions, and indicate that accurate tuning of growth conditions is key to accessing metastable states in TMDs.
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Metastable Polymorphic Phases in Monolayer TaTe2


Iolanda Di Bernardo, Joan Ripoll-Sau, Jose Angel Silva-Guillén, Fabian Calleja, Cosme G. Ayani, Rodolfo Miranda, Enric Canadell, Manuela Garnica, Amadeo L. Vázquez de Parga

Small 202319, 2300262. 
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/smll.202300262