Few-layer tin sulfide (SnS)

Group IV monochalcogenides, anisotropic van der Waals crystals (and black phosphorus analogues), are attracting increasing interest due to a number of exceptional properties including anisotropic optoelectronics and multiferroicity predicted and in part realized in the ultrathin limit. Due to their enhanced chemical reactivity, both exfoliation and synthesis of monolayer and few-layer crystals pose challenges not found in other 2D/layered materials, such as the transition metal dichalcogenides. Here, we show that SnS synthesis on SnS₂ van der Waals substrates can address these challenges and consistently produces few-layer flakes, a capability that is explained via analysis of real-time microscopy of the growth process. Raman spectroscopy combined with efficient computations of the Raman-active modes across an extended thickness range enables a comprehensive understanding of the evolution of the vibrational properties of SnS with number of layers. Lateral piezoresponse force microscopy provides unprecedented insight into the stacking-dependent polarization and ferroelectric domain structures in large few-layer SnS flakes. The combined results establish a basis for further fundamental studies and applications of SnS and other group IV monochalcogenides in the few-layer regime.