Tailoring the specific stacking sequence (polytypes) of layered materials represents a powerful strategy to identify and design novel physical properties. While nanostructures built upon transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) with either the 2H or 3R crystalline phases have been routinely studied, knowledge of TMD nanomaterials based on mixed 2H/3R polytypes is far more limited. In this work, mixed 2H/3R free-standing WS2 nanostructures displaying a flower-like configuration are fingerprinted by means of state-of-the-art transmission electron microscopy. Their rich variety of shape-morphology configurations is correlated with relevant local electronic properties such as edge, surface, and bulk plasmons. Machine learning is deployed to establish that the 2H/3R polytype displays an indirect band gap of (Formula presented.). Further, high resolution electron energy-loss spectroscopy reveals energy-gain peaks exhibiting a gain-to-loss ratio greater than unity, a property that can be exploited for cooling strategies of atomically-thin TMD nanostructures and devices built upon them. The findings of this work represent a stepping stone towards an improved understanding of TMD nanomaterials based on mixed crystalline phases.
- machine learning methods
- transition metal dichalcogenides