Ultrafast charge transfer in atomically thin MoS₂/WS₂ heterostructures

Nat Nanotechnol. 2014 Sep;9(9):682-6. doi: 10.1038/nnano.2014.167. Epub 2014 Aug 24.


Van der Waals heterostructures have recently emerged as a new class of materials, where quantum coupling between stacked atomically thin two-dimensional layers, including graphene, hexagonal-boron nitride and transition-metal dichalcogenides (MX2), give rise to fascinating new phenomena. MX2 heterostructures are particularly exciting for novel optoelectronic and photovoltaic applications, because two-dimensional MX2 monolayers can have an optical bandgap in the near-infrared to visible spectral range and exhibit extremely strong light-matter interactions. Theory predicts that many stacked MX2 heterostructures form type II semiconductor heterojunctions that facilitate efficient electron-hole separation for light detection and harvesting. Here, we report the first experimental observation of ultrafast charge transfer in photoexcited MoS2/WS2 heterostructures using both photoluminescence mapping and femtosecond pump-probe spectroscopy. We show that hole transfer from the MoS2 layer to the WS2 layer takes place within 50 fs after optical excitation, a remarkable rate for van der Waals coupled two-dimensional layers. Such ultrafast charge transfer in van der Waals heterostructures can enable novel two-dimensional devices for optoelectronics and light harvesting.

Publication types

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