Doping-Driven Wettability of Two-Dimensional Materials A Multiscale Theory

Tian Tian, Shangchao Lin, Siyu Li, Lingling Zhao, Elton J G Santos, Chih-Jen Shih

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Engineering molecular interactions at two-dimensional (2D) materials interfaces enables new technological opportunities in functional surfaces and molecular epitaxy. Understanding the wettability of 2D materials represents the crucial first step toward quantifying the interplay between the interfacial forces and electric potential of 2D materials interfaces. Here we develop the first theoretical framework to model the wettability of the doped 2D materials by properly bridging the multiscale physical phenomena at the 2D interfaces, including (i) the change of 2D materials surface energy (atomistic scale, several angstroms), (ii) the molecular reorientation of liquid molecules adjacent to the interface (molecular scale, 10(0)-10(1) nm), and (iii) the electrical double layer (EDL) formed in the liquid phase (mesoscopic scales, 10(0)-10(4) nm). The latter two effects are found to be the major mechanisms responsible for the contact angle change upon doping, while the surface energy change of a pure 2D material has no net effect on the wetting property. When the doping level is electrostatically tuned, we demonstrate that 2D materials with high quantum capacitances (e.g., transition metal dichalcogenides, TMDCs) possess a wider range of tunability in the interfacial tension, under the same applied gate voltage. Furthermore, practical considerations such as defects and airborne contamination are also quantitatively discussed. Our analysis implies that the doping level can be another variable to modulate the wettability at 2D materials interfaces, as well as the molecular packing behavior on a 2D material-coated surface, essentially facilitating the interfacial engineering of 2D materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12827-12837
Issue number44
Early online date23 Oct 2017
Publication statusEarly online date - 23 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Journal Article

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