Engineering Chemically Exfoliated Large-Area Two-Dimensional MoS2 Nanolayers with Porphyrins for Improved Light Harvesting

Hanyu Zhang, Jungwook Choi, Arjun Ramani, Damien Voiry, Sean N. Natoli, Manish Chhowalla, David R. McMillin, Jong Hyun Choi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is a promising candidate for electronic and optoelectronic applications. However, its application in light harvesting has been limited in part due to crystal defects, often related to small crystallite sizes, which diminish charge separation and transfer. Here we demonstrate a surface-engineering strategy for 2D MoS2 to improve its photoelectrochemical properties. Chemically exfoliated large-area MoS2 thin films were interfaced with eight molecules from three porphyrin families: zinc(II)-, gallium(III)-, iron(III)-centered, and metal-free protoporphyrin IX (ZnPP, GaPP, FePP, H2PP); metal-free and zinc(II) tetra-(N-methyl-4-pyridyl)porphyrin (H2T4, ZnT4); and metal-free and zinc(II) tetraphenylporphyrin (H2TPP, ZnTPP). We found that the photocurrents from MoS2 films under visible-light illumination are strongly dependent on the interfacial molecules and that the photocurrent enhancement is closely correlated with the highest occupied molecular orbital (HOMO) levels of the porphyrins, which suppress the recombination of electron–hole pairs in the photoexcited MoS2 films. A maximum tenfold increase was observed for MoS2 functionalized with ZnPP compared with pristine MoS2 films, whereas ZnT4-functionalized MoS2 demonstrated small increases in photocurrent. The application of bias voltage on MoS2 films can further promote photocurrent enhancements and control current directions. Our results suggest a facile route to render 2D MoS2 films useful for potential high-performance light-harvesting applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2854-2862
Number of pages9
StatePublished - Sep 19 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


  • light harvesting
  • molybdenum disulfide
  • nanolayers
  • photocurrent
  • porphyrins


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