First principles investigation of copper and silver intercalated molybdenum disulfide

D. M. Guzman, Nicolas Christophe Orlando Onofrio, A. Strachan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


We characterize the energetics and atomic structures involved in the intercalation of copper and silver into the van der Waals gap of molybdenum disulfide as well as the resulting ionic and electronic transport properties using first-principles density functional theory. The intercalation energy of systems with formula (Cu,Ag)xMoS2decreases with ion concentration and ranges from 1.2 to 0.8 eV for Cu; Ag exhibits a stronger concentration dependence from 2.2 eV for x = 0.014 to 0.75 eV for x = 1 (using the fcc metal as a reference). Partial atomic charge analysis indicates that approximately half an electron is transferred per metallic ion in the case of Cu at low concentrations and the ionicity decreases only slightly with concentration. In contrast, while Ag is only slightly less ionic than Cu for low concentrations, charge transfer reduces significantly to approximately 0.1 e for x = 1. This difference in ionicity between Cu and Ag correlates with their intercalation energies. Importantly, the predicted values indicate the possibility of electrochemical intercalation of both Cu and Ag into MoS2and the calculated activation energies associated with ionic transport within the gaps, 0.32 eV for Cu and 0.38 eV for Ag, indicate these materials to be good ionic conductors. Analysis of the electronic structure shows that charge transfer leads to a shift of the Fermi energy into the conduction band resulting in a semiconductor-to-metal transition. Electron transport calculations based on non-equilibrium Green's function show that the low-bias conductance increases with metal concentration and is comparable in the horizontal and vertical transport directions. These properties make metal intercalated transition metal di-chalcogenides potential candidates for several applications including electrochemical metallization cells and contacts in electronics based on 2D materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055703
JournalJournal of Applied Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Feb 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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