Two-dimensional (2D) materials have been studied extensively as monolayers1,2,3,4,5, vertical or lateral heterostructures6,7,8. To achieve functionalization, monolayers are often patterned using soft lithography and selectively decorated with molecules9,10. Here we demonstrate the growth of a family of 2D materials that are intrinsically patterned. We demonstrate that a monolayer of PtSe2 can be grown on a Pt substrate in the form of a triangular pattern of alternating 1T and 1H phases. Moreover, we show that, in a monolayer of CuSe grown on a Cu substrate, strain relaxation leads to periodic patterns of triangular nanopores with uniform size. Adsorption of different species at preferred pattern sites is also achieved, demonstrating that these materials can serve as templates for selective self-assembly of molecules or nanoclusters, as well as for the functionalization of the same substrate with two different species.

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We acknowledge the financial support from National Key Research and Development Projects of China (2016YFA0202300), the National Basic Research Program of China (2013CBA01600), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos 61390501, 51572290, 61306015 and 61471337, 51325204) and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Nos 1731300500015, XDB07030100, and the CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program). A portion of the research was performed in CAS Key Laboratory of Vacuum Physics. Work at Vanderbilt (S.T.P. and Y.Y.Z.) was supported by the US Department of Energy under grant DE-FG02-09ER46554 and by the McMinn Endowment. Computations by Y.Y.Z. were carried out at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center, a DOE Office of Science User Facility supported by the Office of Science of the US Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC02-05CH11231. The electron microscopy work was supported in part by the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Science, Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, and through a user project at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, which is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

Author information

Author notes

    • X. Lin
    • , J. C. Lu
    • , Y. Shao
    •  & Y. Y. Zhang

    These authors contributed equally to this work.


  1. Institute of Physics & University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100190, China

    • X. Lin
    • , J. C. Lu
    • , Y. Shao
    • , Y. Y. Zhang
    • , X. Wu
    • , J. B. Pan
    • , L. Gao
    • , S. Y. Zhu
    • , K. Qian
    • , Y. F. Zhang
    • , D. L. Bao
    • , L. F. Li
    • , Y. Q. Wang
    • , Z. L. Liu
    • , J. T. Sun
    • , W. Zhou
    • , H. M. Guo
    • , Y. L. Wang
    • , S. X. Du
    • , S. T. Pantelides
    •  & H.-J. Gao
  2. Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee 37235, USA

    • Y. Y. Zhang
    •  & S. T. Pantelides
  3. Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China

    • T. Lei
    • , C. Liu
    • , J. O. Wang
    •  & K. Ibrahim
  4. Material Sciences and Technology Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37381, USA

    • D. N. Leonard
    •  & W. Zhou


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H.-J.G. and S.T.P. conceived and coordinated the research project. X.L. designed the CuSe experiments. J.C.L. and K.Q. prepared CuSe samples and performed the STM experiments. Y.L.W. designed the PtSe2 experiments. Y.S., X.W., S.Y.Z., L.F.L., Y.Q.W., Z.L.L. and H.M.G. prepared PtSe2 samples and performed the STM experiments. T.L., C.L., J.O.W. and K.I. provided support for XPS experiments. D.N.L. and W.Z. performed the STEM experiments. Y.Y.Z., J.B.P., L.G., Y.F.Z., D.L.B. and J.T.S. performed the DFT calculations under the guidance of S.X.D. All authors participated in discussing the data and editing the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Y. L. Wang or S. X. Du or H.-J. Gao.

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