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Strain Control of Exciton–Phonon Coupling in Atomically Thin Semiconductors

  • Iris Niehues
    Iris Niehues
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
    More by Iris Niehues
  • Robert Schmidt
    Robert Schmidt
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • Matthias Drüppel
    Matthias Drüppel
    Institute of Solid State Theory, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • Philipp Marauhn
    Philipp Marauhn
    Institute of Solid State Theory, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • Dominik Christiansen
    Dominik Christiansen
    Institut für Theoretische Physik, Nichtlineare Optik und Quantenelektronik, Technische Universität Berlin, D-10623 Berlin, Germany
  • Malte Selig
    Malte Selig
    Institut für Theoretische Physik, Nichtlineare Optik und Quantenelektronik, Technische Universität Berlin, D-10623 Berlin, Germany
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  • Gunnar Berghäuser
    Gunnar Berghäuser
    Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Daniel Wigger
    Daniel Wigger
    Institute of Solid State Theory, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • Robert Schneider
    Robert Schneider
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • Lisa Braasch
    Lisa Braasch
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
    More by Lisa Braasch
  • Rouven Koch
    Rouven Koch
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
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  • Andres Castellanos-Gomez
    Andres Castellanos-Gomez
    Materials Science Factory, Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM-CSIC), Madrid E-28049, Spain
  • Tilmann Kuhn
    Tilmann Kuhn
    Institute of Solid State Theory, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
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  • Andreas Knorr
    Andreas Knorr
    Institut für Theoretische Physik, Nichtlineare Optik und Quantenelektronik, Technische Universität Berlin, D-10623 Berlin, Germany
  • Ermin Malic
    Ermin Malic
    Department of Physics, Chalmers University of Technology, SE-412 96 Gothenburg, Sweden
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  • Michael Rohlfing
    Michael Rohlfing
    Institute of Solid State Theory, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • Steffen Michaelis de Vasconcellos
    Steffen Michaelis de Vasconcellos
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
  • , and 
  • Rudolf Bratschitsch*
    Rudolf Bratschitsch
    Institute of Physics and Center for Nanotechnology, University of Münster, D-48149 Münster, Germany
    *E-mail: [email protected]
Cite this: Nano Lett. 2018, 18, 3, 1751–1757
Publication Date (Web):February 1, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    Semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) monolayers have exceptional physical properties. They show bright photoluminescence due to their unique band structure and absorb more than 10% of the light at their excitonic resonances despite their atomic thickness. At room temperature, the width of the exciton transitions is governed by the exciton–phonon interaction leading to strongly asymmetric line shapes. TMDC monolayers are also extremely flexible, sustaining mechanical strain of about 10% without breaking. The excitonic properties strongly depend on strain. For example, exciton energies of TMDC monolayers significantly redshift under uniaxial tensile strain. Here, we demonstrate that the width and the asymmetric line shape of excitonic resonances in TMDC monolayers can be controlled with applied strain. We measure photoluminescence and absorption spectra of the A exciton in monolayer MoSe2, WSe2, WS2, and MoS2 under uniaxial tensile strain. We find that the A exciton substantially narrows and becomes more symmetric for the selenium-based monolayer materials, while no change is observed for atomically thin WS2. For MoS2 monolayers, the line width increases. These effects are due to a modified exciton–phonon coupling at increasing strain levels because of changes in the electronic band structure of the respective monolayer materials. This interpretation based on steady-state experiments is corroborated by time-resolved photoluminescence measurements. Our results demonstrate that moderate strain values on the order of only 1% are already sufficient to globally tune the exciton–phonon interaction in TMDC monolayers and hold the promise for controlling the coupling on the nanoscale.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b04868.


    Photoluminescence under strain, absorption under strain, fitting of the PL and absorption spectra, asymmetry of PL and absorption, influence of the trion on the PL of strained MoS2, phonon contribution to the exciton line width at zero strain, valley positions under uniaxial strain, time-resolved PL measurements, and phonon contributions to the line width at zero strain (PDF)

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