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Giant Mechano-Optoelectronic Effect in an Atomically Thin Semiconductor.

  • Author(s): Wu, Wei
  • Wang, Jin
  • Ercius, Peter
  • Wright, Nicomario C
  • Leppert-Simenauer, Danielle M
  • Burke, Robert A
  • Dubey, Madan
  • Dogare, Avinash M
  • Pettes, Michael T
  • et al.
Abstract

Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) are particularly sensitive to mechanical strain because they are capable of experiencing high atomic displacements without nucleating defects to release excess energy. Being promising for photonic applications, it has been shown that as certain phases of layered TMDs MX2 (M = Mo or W; X = S, Se, or Te) are scaled to a thickness of one monolayer, the photoluminescence response is dramatically enhanced due to the emergence of a direct electronic band gap compared with their multilayer or bulk counterparts, which typically exhibit indirect band gaps. Recently, mechanical strain has also been predicted to enable direct excitonic recombination in these materials, in which large changes in the photoluminescence response will occur during an indirect-to-direct band gap transition brought on by elastic tensile strain. Here, we demonstrate an enhancement of 2 orders of magnitude in the photoluminescence emission intensity in uniaxially strained single crystalline WSe2 bilayers. Through a theoretical model that includes experimentally relevant system conditions, we determine this amplification to arise from a significant increase in direct excitonic recombination. Adding confidence to the high levels of elastic strain achieved in this report, we observe strain-independent, mode-dependent Grüneisen parameters over the entire range of tensile strain (1-3.59%), which were obtained as 1.149 ± 0.027, 0.307 ± 0.061, and 0.357 ± 0.103 for the E2g, A1g, and A21g optical phonon modes, respectively. These results can inform the predictive strain-engineered design of other atomically thin indirect semiconductors, in which a decrease in out-of-plane bonding strength may lead to an increase in the strength of strain-coupled optoelectronic effects.

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