Chemically exfoliating large sheets of phosphorene via choline chloride urea viscosity-tuning
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Exfoliation of two-dimensional phosphorene from bulk black phosphorous through chemical means is demonstrated where the solvent system of choice (choline chloride urea diluted with ethanol) has the ability to successfully exfoliate large-area multi-layer phosphorene sheets and further protect the flakes from ambient degradation. The intercalant solvent molecules, aided by low-powered sonication, diffuse between the layers of the bulk black phosphorus, allowing for the exfoliation of the multi-layer phosphorene through breaking of the interlayer van der Waals bonds. Through viscosity tuning, the optimal parameters (1:1 ratio between the intercalant and the diluting solvent) at which the exfoliation takes place is determined. Our exfoliation technique is shown to produce multi-layer phosphorene flakes with surface areas greater than 3 μm2 (a factor of three larger than what has previously been reported for a similar exfoliation method) while limiting exposure to the ambient environment, thereby protecting the flakes from degradation. Characterization techniques such as optical microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and (scanning) transmission electron microscopy are used to investigate the quality, quantity, and thickness of the exfoliated flakes.
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