skip to main content


Title: Probing excitonic states in suspended two-dimensional semiconductors by photocurrent spectroscopy

The optical response of semiconducting monolayer transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) is dominated by strongly bound excitons that are stable even at room temperature. However, substrate-related effects such as screening and disorder in currently available specimens mask many anticipated physical phenomena and limit device applications of TMDCs. Here, we demonstrate that that these undesirable effects are strongly suppressed in suspended devices. Extremely robust (photogain > 1,000) and fast (response time < 1 ms) photoresponse allow us to study, for the first time, the formation, binding energies, and dissociation mechanisms of excitons in TMDCs through photocurrent spectroscopy. By analyzing the spectral positions of peaks in the photocurrent and by comparing them with first-principles calculations, we obtain binding energies, band gaps and spin-orbit splitting in monolayer TMDCs. For monolayer MoS2, in particular, we obtain an extremely large binding energy for band-edge excitons, Ebind ≥ 570 meV. Along with band-edge excitons, we observe excitons associated with a van Hove singularity of rather unique nature. In conclusion, the analysis of the source-drain voltage dependence of photocurrent spectra reveals exciton dissociation and photoconversion mechanisms in TMDCs.
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [3] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN (United States)
  2. Vanderbilt Univ., Nashville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States)
  5. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  6. Fisk Univ., Nashville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
FGO2-99ER45781; W911NF-07-R-0003-02; NSF ARI-R2 DMR-0963361; NSF EPS1004083; ONR- N000141310299; NSF CAREER DMR-1056859; HDTRA1-10-0047; AC05-00OR22725
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; Electronic properties and materials; Nanoscience and technology; Nanosensors; Two-dimensional materials
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1265274