Hexagonal Domain-Like Charge Density Wave Phase of TaS2 Determined by Scanning Tunneling Microscopy

Science  31 Mar 1989:
Vol. 243, Issue 4899, pp. 1703-1705
DOI: 10.1126/science.243.4899.1703


The structure of the room-temperature charge density wave (CDW) phase in octahedrally coordinated tantalum disulfide, 1T-TaS2, has been a controversial issue for over 15 years. Large-scale scanning tunneling microscope images of the intralayer structure of this phase exhibit a domain-like pattern defined by a variation in the maximum CDW amplitude. The circular domains, consisting of high-amplitude CDWs, are arranged in a regular hexagonal lattice (period 73±3 angstroms) that is rotated relative to the CDWs. In addition, from the analysis of atomic resolution images it was determined that there is a well-defined phase shift between the CDWs in adjacent domains, and that within a domain the CDW superlattice is commensurate with the atomic lattice. These results provide evidence for the hexagonal discommensurate CDW phase in 1T-TaS2 and also suggest an explanation for the long-standing controversy concerning the structure of this phase.