Nanoscale corrugations are of great importance in determining the physical properties of two-dimensional crystals. However, the mechanical behavior of atomically thin films under strain is not fully understood. In this Letter, we show a layer-dependent mechanical response of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) subject to atomistic-precision strain induced by 2H-bilayer island epitaxy. Dimensional crossover in the mechanical properties is evidenced by the formation of star-shaped nanoripple arrays in the first monolayer, while rippling instability is completely suppressed in the bilayer. Microscopic-level quantum mechanical simulations reveal that the nanoscale rippling is realized by the twisting of neighboring Mo - S bonds without modifying the chemical bond length, and thus invalidates the classical continuum mechanics. The formation of nanoripple arrays significantly changes the electronic and nanotribological properties of monolayer MoS2. Our results suggest that quantum mechanical behavior is not unique for sp2 bonding but general for atomic membranes under strain.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2015 American Physical Society.