Structural and chemical characterization of MoO2/MoS2triple-hybrid materials using electron microscopy in up to three dimensions

This work presents the synthesis of MoO2/MoS2 core/shell nanoparticles within a carbon nanotube network and their detailed electron microscopy investigation in up to three dimensions. The triple-hybrid core/shell material was prepared by atomic layer deposition of molybdenum oxide onto carbon nanotube networks, followed by annealing in a sulfur-containing gas atmosphere. High-resolution transmission electron microscopy together with electron diffraction, supported by chemical analysis via energy dispersive X-ray and electron energy loss spectroscopy, gave proof of a MoO2 core covered by few layers of a MoS2 shell within an entangled network of carbon nanotubes. To gain further insights into this complex material, the analysis was completed with 3D electron tomography. By using Z-contrast imaging, distinct reconstruction of core and shell material was possible, enabling the analysis of the 3D structure of the material. These investigations showed imperfections in the nanoparticles which can impact material performance, i.e. for faradaic charge storage or electrocatalysis.