Electrical Control of Charged Carriers and Excitons in Atomically Thin Materials

January 23, 2018

Fig. 1: Semiconducting van der Waals heterostructure with mesoscopic backgates.*

Electrical confinement and manipulation of charge carriers in semiconducting nanostructures are essential for realizing functional quantum electronic devices. The unique band structure of atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) offers a new route towards realizing novel 2D quantum electronic devices, such as valleytronic devices and valley–spin qubits. 2D TMDs also provide a platform for novel quantum optoelectronic devices due to their large exciton binding energy. However, controlled confinement and manipulation of electronic and excitonic excitations in TMD nanostructures have been technically challenging due to the prevailing disorder in the material, preventing accurate experimental control of local confinement and tunnel couplings.

In a Letter to Nature Nanotechnology, Harvard physicists from Lukin, Park, and Kim groups, with colleagues from National Institute for Materials Science, Ibaraki, Japan, demonstrate a novel method for creating high-quality heterostructures composed of atomically thin materials that allows for efficient electrical control of excitations. Specifically, they demonstrate quantum transport in the gate-defined, quantum-confined region, observing spin–valley locked quantized conductance in quantum point contacts. The authors also realize gate-controlled Coulomb blockade associated with confinement of electrons and demonstrate electrical control over charged excitons with tunable local confinement potentials and tunnel couplings. This work provides a basis for novel quantum opto-electronic devices based on manipulation of charged carriers and excitons.

* See: K. Wang, K. De Greve, L.A. Jauregui, A. Sushko, A. High, Y. Zhou, G. Scuri, T. Taniguchi, K. Watanabe, M.D. Lukin, H. Park & P. Kim, "Electrical control of charged carriers and excitons in atomically thin materials ," Nature Nanotechnology (2018) doi:10.1038/s41565-017-0030-x.