Researchers at Chalmers University in Sweden have recently reported a facile and controllable anisotropic wet etching method that allows scalable fabrication of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMD) metamaterials with atomic precision. The team says that this new method has great potential for various layered structures like MoS2 and WS2 and graphene.

Etching hexagonal nanostructures in TMD materials imageProcess of etching hexagonal nanostructures in TMD materials. Image from article

They showed that materials can be etched along certain crystallographic axes, such that the obtained edges are nearly atomically sharp and exclusively zigzag-terminated. This results in hexagonal nanostructures of predefined order and complexity, including few-nanometer-thin nanoribbons and nanojunctions. Thus, this method enables future studies of a broad range of metamaterials through atomically precise control of the structure.

The team has formed a start-up called SMENA Tech based on this work, and filed a patent. This new company is currently focused on TMDs, but the team reported that graphene could also be in the pipeline in the future.