Stretching and breaking of ultrathin MoS2

ACS Nano. 2011 Dec 27;5(12):9703-9. doi: 10.1021/nn203879f. Epub 2011 Nov 16.


We report on measurements of the stiffness and breaking strength of monolayer MoS(2), a new semiconducting analogue of graphene. Single and bilayer MoS(2) is exfoliated from bulk and transferred to a substrate containing an array of microfabricated circular holes. The resulting suspended, free-standing membranes are deformed and eventually broken using an atomic force microscope. We find that the in-plane stiffness of monolayer MoS(2) is 180 ± 60 Nm(-1), corresponding to an effective Young's modulus of 270 ± 100 GPa, which is comparable to that of steel. Breaking occurs at an effective strain between 6 and 11% with the average breaking strength of 15 ± 3 Nm(-1) (23 GPa). The strength of strongest monolayer membranes is 11% of its Young's modulus, corresponding to the upper theoretical limit which indicates that the material can be highly crystalline and almost defect-free. Our results show that monolayer MoS(2) could be suitable for a variety of applications such as reinforcing elements in composites and for fabrication of flexible electronic devices.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disulfides / chemistry*
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Materials Testing
  • Membranes, Artificial*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Molybdenum / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Properties
  • Tensile Strength


  • Disulfides
  • Membranes, Artificial
  • Molybdenum
  • molybdenum disulfide