Synthesis and characterization of nanoscale composite particles formed by 2D layers of Cu-Fe sulfide and Mg-based hydroxide

05 January 2022, Version 2


We introduce here a multifunctional material composed of alternating atomic sulfide sheets close to CuFeS2 and Mg-based hydroxide ones (valleriite), which are assembled due to their electric charges of opposite sign. Valleriite particles of 50-200 nm in the lateral size and 10-20 nm thick were synthesized via a simple hydrothermal pathway using various concentrations of precursors and dopants, and examined with XRD, TEM, EDS, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, reflection electron energy loss spectroscopy (REELS), Mössbauer, Raman and UV-vis-NIR spectroscopies, magnetic, dynamic light scattering, zeta potential measurements. The electronic, magnetic and optical characteristics are found to be critically dependent of the charge (electron density) at the narrow-gap sulfide layers containing Cu+ and Fe3+ cations, and can be tuned via the composition of hydroxide part. Particularly, substitution of Mg2+ with Al3+ increases the negative charge of the hydroxide layers and reduces the content of Fe3+-OH centers (10-45% of total iron); the effects of Cr and Co dopants entering both layers are more complicated. Mössbauer doublets of paramagnetic Fe3+ detected at room temperature transform to several Zeeman sextets at 4.2 K; the hyperfine fields up to 500 kOe and complex magnetic behavior, but not pure paramagnetism or antiferromagnetism, were observed for valleriites with the higher positive charge of the sulfide sheets, probably due to the depopulation of the minority-spin 3d states of S-bonded Fe3+ ions. Aqueous colloids of valleriite show optical absorption at 500 - 750 nm, which, along with the peaks at the same energies in REELS, may arise due to quasi-static dielectric resonance involving the vacant Fe 3d band and being dependent on the composition of both layers too. These and other findings call attention to the of valleriites as a new rich family of 2D materials for a variety of potential applications.


two-dimensional materials
hydrothermal synthesis
X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
Mössbauer spectroscopy
zeta potential

Supplementary materials

Supporting Materials
Scheme and photos of autoclave set-up (Figure S1), additional TEM, SAED, EDS images (Figure S2-S4), elemental mapping (Figures S3, S4), Mössbauer parameters (Table S1).


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