Encapsulation of Crystalline and Amorphous Sb2S3 within Carbon and Boron Nitride Nanotubes

04 March 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The recent rediscovery of 1D and quasi-1D (q-1D) van der Waals (vdW) crystals has laid foundation to the realization of emergent electronic, optical, and quantum-confined physical phenomena in both bulk and at the nanoscale. Of these, the highly anisotropic q-1D vdW crystal structure and the visible-light optical/optoelectronic properties of antimony trisulfide (Sb2S3) have led to its widespread consideration as a promising building block for photovoltaic and non-volatile phase change devices. However, while these applications will greatly benefit from well-defined and sub-nanometer-thick q-1D structures, little has been known about feasible synthetic routes that can access single covalent chains of Sb2S3. In this work, we explore how encapsulation in single or multi-walled carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs or MWCNTs) and visible-range transparent boron nitride nanotubes (BNNTs) influences the growth and phase of Sb2S3 nanostructures. We demonstrate that nanotubes with smaller diameters had a more pronounced effect in the crystallographic growth direction and orientation of Sb2S3 nanostructures, promoting the crystallization of the guest structures along the long-axis [010]-direction. As such, we were able to reliably access well-ordered few- to single covalent chains of Sb2S3 when synthesized within defect-free SWCNTs with sub-2 nm inner diameters. Intriguingly, we found that the degree of crystalline order of Sb2S3 nanostructures was strongly influenced by the presence of defects and discontinuities along the Sb2S3-nanotube interface. We show that amorphous nanowire domains of Sb2S3 form around defect sites in larger, multi-walled nanotubes that manifest inner wall defects and discontinuities, suggesting a means to manipulate the crystallization dynamics of confined sub-10 nm-thick Sb2S3 nanostructures within nanotubes. Lastly, we show that ultrathin, predominantly amorphous, Sb2S3 encapsulated within BNNTs can impart functionality onto the host nanotube, showing a ~30-fold increase in electrical conductivity and displayed photocurrent generation compared to empty BNNTs in pressed pellets. Altogether, our results serve to solidify the understanding of how q-1D vdW pnictogen chalcogenides crystallize within confined synthetic platforms and are a step towards realizing functional materials from ensembles of encapsulated heterostructures.


van der Waals

Supplementary materials

Supplementary Information document
Includes materials and methods, supplementary figures, and supplementary tables


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