New high-temperature Pb-catalyzed synthesis of inorganic nanotubes

Olga Brontvein, Daniel G. Stroppa, Ronit Popovitz-Biro, Ana Albu-Yaron, Moshe Levy, Daniel Feuerman, Lothar Houben, Reshef Tenne, Jeffrey M. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A new procedure for the synthesis of MoS 2 nanotubes is reported, and additionally demonstrated for MoSe 2, WS 2, and WSe 2. Highly concentrated sunlight creates continuous high temperatures, strong temperature gradients, and extended hot annealing regions, which, together with a metallic (Pb) catalyst, are conducive to the formation of different inorganic nanotubes. Structural characterization (including atomic resolution images) reveals a three-step reaction mechanism. In the first step, MoS 2 platelets react with water-air residues, decompose by intense solar irradiation, and are converted to molybdenum oxide. Subsequently, the hot annealing environment leads to the growth of Pb-stabilized MoO 3-x nanowhiskers. Shortly afterward, the surface of the MoO 3-x starts to react with the sulfur vapor supplied by the decomposition of nearby MoS 2 platelets and becomes enveloped by MoS 2 layers. Finally, the molybdenum oxide core is gradually transformed into MoS 2 nanotubes. These findings augur well for similar syntheses of as yet unattained nanotubes from other metal chalcogenides.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16379-16386
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number39
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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