Quantum materials have fascinating properties due to the collective coupling of electrons, phonons, etc. to new quasiparticle states, mediated by a particular potential landscape. Our ability to study and explore these properties depends on our capability to build these materials with high specificity and an exquisite level of control over composition, structure and morphology. Transition metal chalcogenides are a family of layered materials with the potential to satisfy these requirements. So far, however, exploration of layered materials is limited to exfoliation of bulk, often MBE grown, crystals or study of small crystalline domains deposited by chemical vapor deposition methods. On the other hand, state of the art material science and chemistry are providing synthetic tools to grow various materials with close to molecular precision, therefore enabling the potential of creating entirely new material classes that ultimately control the electronic potential landscape. In my talk I will describe recent developments in synthesis and characterization of TMDs at the Molecular Foundry. I’ll focus mainly on a new synthetic approach for TMD’s by chemical conversion of ultrathin thin films. Furthermore, I’ll discuss the inhomogeneity in materials properties and the relevant characterization methods that lead to understanding them. Finally, I’ll discuss how the characterization methods are used to identify these defects are guiding refinement of synthetic methods.