Dirac cones and Dirac saddle points of bright excitons in monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides

Nat Commun. 2014 May 12;5:3876. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4876.


In monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides, tightly bound excitons have been discovered with a valley pseudospin optically addressable through polarization selection rules. Here, we show that this valley pseudospin is strongly coupled to the exciton centre-of-mass motion through electron-hole exchange. This coupling realizes a massless Dirac cone with chirality index I = 2 for excitons inside the light cone, that is, bright excitons. Under moderate strain, the I = 2 Dirac cone splits into two degenerate I = 1 Dirac cones, and saddle points with a linear Dirac spectrum emerge. After binding an extra electron, the charged exciton becomes a massive Dirac particle associated with a large valley Hall effect protected from intervalley scattering. Our results point to unique opportunities to study Dirac physics, with exciton's optical addressability at specifiable momentum, energy and pseudospin. The strain-tunable valley-orbit coupling also implies new structures of exciton condensates, new functionalities of excitonic circuits and mechanical control of valley pseudospin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.