J Phys Chem C Nanomater Interfaces. 2022 Dec 15;126(49):21022-21033. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcc.2c05100. Epub 2022 Dec 1.
A comprehensive study of bulk molybdenum dichalcogenides is presented with the use of soft and hard X-ray photoelectron (SXPS and HAXPES) spectroscopy combined with hybrid density functional theory (DFT). The main core levels of MoS2, MoSe2, and MoTe2 are explored. Laboratory-based X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) is used to determine the ionization potential (IP) values of the MoX2 series as 5.86, 5.40, and 5.00 eV for MoSe2, MoSe2, and MoTe2, respectively, enabling the band alignment of the series to be established. Finally, the valence band measurements are compared with the calculated density of states which shows the role of p-d hybridization in these materials. Down the group, an increase in the p-d hybridization from the sulfide to the telluride is observed, explained by the configuration energy of the chalcogen p orbitals becoming closer to that of the valence Mo 4d orbitals. This pushes the valence band maximum closer to the vacuum level, explaining the decreasing IP down the series. High-resolution SXPS and HAXPES core-level spectra address the shortcomings of the XPS analysis in the literature. Furthermore, the experimentally determined band alignment can be used to inform future device work.