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Direct Imaging of Carrier Funneling in a Dielectric Engineered 2D Semiconductor.

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Ashoka, Arjun 
Lim, Juhwan 
See, Soo Teck 
Sung, Jooyoung 


In atomically thin transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), the environmental sensitivity of the strong Coulomb interaction offers promising approaches to create spatially varying potential landscapes in the same continuous material by tuning its dielectric environment. Thus, allowing for control of transport. However, a scalable and CMOS-compatible method for achieving this is required to harness these effects in practical applications. In addition, because of their ultrashort lifetime, observing the spatiotemporal dynamics of carriers in monolayer TMDCs, on the relevant time scale, is challenging. Here, we pattern and deposit a thin film of hafnium oxide (HfO2) via atomic layer deposition (ALD) on top of a monolayer of WSe2. This allows for the engineering of the dielectric environment of the monolayer and design of heterostructures with nanoscale spatial resolution via a highly scalable postsynthesis methodology. We then directly image the transport of photoexcitations in the monolayer with 50 fs time resolution and few-nanometer spatial precision, using a pump probe microscopy technique. We observe the unidirectional funneling of charge carriers, from the unpatterned to the patterned areas, over more than 50 nm in the first 20 ps with velocities of over 2 × 103 m/s at room temperature. These results demonstrate the possibilities offered by dielectric engineering via ALD patterning, allowing for arbitrary spatial patterns that define the potential landscape and allow for control of the transport of excitations in atomically thin materials. This work also shows the power of the transient absorption methodology to image the motion of photoexcited states in complex potential landscapes on ultrafast time scales.


Publication status: Published


excitons, microscopy, transient absorption, transition-metal dichalcogenides, transport, two-dimensional materials

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ACS Nano

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P024947/1)
European Research Council (758826)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/R00661X/1)
EPSRC (1948696)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/M006360/1)