skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on December 1, 2024

Title: Thermodynamic behavior of correlated electron-hole fluids in van der Waals heterostructures
Abstract

Coupled two-dimensional electron-hole bilayers provide a unique platform to study strongly correlated Bose-Fermi mixtures in condensed matter. Electrons and holes in spatially separated layers can bind to form interlayer excitons, composite Bosons expected to support high-temperature exciton condensates. The interlayer excitons can also interact strongly with excess charge carriers when electron and hole densities are unequal. Here, we use optical spectroscopy to quantitatively probe the local thermodynamic properties of strongly correlated electron-hole fluids in MoSe2/hBN/WSe2heterostructures. We observe a discontinuity in the electron and hole chemical potentials at matched electron and hole densities, a definitive signature of an excitonic insulator ground state. The excitonic insulator is stable up to a Mott density of ~0.8 × 1012cm−2and has a thermal ionization temperature of ~70 K. The density dependence of the electron, hole, and exciton chemical potentials reveals strong correlation effects across the phase diagram. Compared with a non-interacting uniform charge distribution, the correlation effects lead to significant attractive exciton-exciton and exciton-charge interactions in the electron-hole fluid. Our work highlights the unique quantum behavior that can emerge in strongly correlated electron-hole systems.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1904716
NSF-PAR ID:
10498077
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Communications
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Volume:
14
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2041-1723
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Transition metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) moiré superlattices, owing to the moiré flatbands and strong correlation, can host periodic electron crystals and fascinating correlated physics. The TMDC heterojunctions in the type-II alignment also enable long-lived interlayer excitons that are promising for correlated bosonic states, while the interaction is dictated by the asymmetry of the heterojunction. Here we demonstrate a new excitonic state, quadrupolar exciton, in a symmetric WSe2-WS2-WSe2trilayer moiré superlattice. The quadrupolar excitons exhibit a quadratic dependence on the electric field, distinctively different from the linear Stark shift of the dipolar excitons in heterobilayers. This quadrupolar exciton stems from the hybridization of WSe2valence moiré flatbands. The same mechanism also gives rise to an interlayer Mott insulator state, in which the two WSe2layers share one hole laterally confined in one moiré unit cell. In contrast, the hole occupation probability in each layer can be continuously tuned via an out-of-plane electric field, reaching 100% in the top or bottom WSe2under a large electric field, accompanying the transition from quadrupolar excitons to dipolar excitons. Our work demonstrates a trilayer moiré system as a new exciting playground for realizing novel correlated states and engineering quantum phase transitions.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract We present evidence that the two-dimensional bulk of monolayer WTe 2 contains electrons and holes bound by Coulomb attraction—excitons—that spontaneously form in thermal equilibrium. On cooling from room temperature to 100 K, the conductivity develops a V-shaped dependence on electrostatic doping, while the chemical potential develops a step at the neutral point. These features are much sharper than is possible in an independent-electron picture, but they can be accounted for if electrons and holes interact strongly and are paired in equilibrium. Our calculations from first principles show that the exciton binding energy is larger than 100 meV and the radius as small as 4 nm, explaining their formation at high temperature and doping levels. Below 100 K, more strongly insulating behaviour is seen, suggesting that a charge-ordered state forms. The observed absence of charge density waves in this state is surprising within an excitonic insulator picture, but we show that it can be explained by the symmetries of the exciton wavefunction. Therefore, in addition to being a topological insulator, monolayer WTe 2 exhibits strong correlations over a wide temperature range. 
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Two-dimensional (2D) heterostructures (HS) formed by transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMDC) monolayers offer a unique platform for the study of intralayer and interlayer excitons as well as moiré-pattern-induced features. Particularly, the dipolar charge-transfer exciton comprising an electron and a hole, which are confined to separate layers of 2D semiconductors and Coulomb-bound across the heterojunction interface, has drawn considerable attention in the research community. On the one hand, it bears significance for optoelectronic devices, e.g. in terms of charge carrier extraction from photovoltaic devices. On the other hand, its spatially indirect nature and correspondingly high longevity among excitons as well as its out-of-plane dipole orientation render it attractive for excitonic Bose–Einstein condensation studies, which address collective coherence effects, and for photonic integration schemes with TMDCs. Here, we demonstrate the interlayer excitons’ out-of-plane dipole orientation through angle-resolved spectroscopy of the HS photoluminescence at cryogenic temperatures, employing a tungsten-based TMDC HS. Within the measurable light cone, the directly-obtained radiation profile of this species clearly resembles that of an in-plane emitter which deviates from that of the intralayer bright excitons as well as the other excitonic HS features recently attributed to artificial superlattices formed by moiré patterns.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Excitonic insulators are usually considered to form via the condensation of a soft charge mode of bound electron-hole pairs. This, however, presumes that the soft exciton is of spin-singlet character. Early theoretical considerations have also predicted a very distinct scenario, in which the condensation of magnetic excitons results in an antiferromagnetic excitonic insulator state. Here we report resonant inelastic x-ray scattering (RIXS) measurements of Sr3Ir2O7. By isolating the longitudinal component of the spectra, we identify a magnetic mode that is well-defined at the magnetic and structural Brillouin zone centers, but which merges with the electronic continuum in between these high symmetry points and which decays upon heating concurrent with a decrease in the material’s resistivity. We show that a bilayer Hubbard model, in which electron-hole pairs are bound by exchange interactions, consistently explains all the electronic and magnetic properties of Sr3Ir2O7indicating that this material is a realization of the long-predicted antiferromagnetic excitonic insulator phase.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Excitonic insulator is a coherent electronic phase that results from the formation of a macroscopic population of bound particle-hole pairs—excitons. With only a few candidate materials known, the collective excitonic behavior is challenging to observe, being obscured by crystalline lattice effects. Here we use polarization-resolved Raman spectroscopy to reveal the quadrupolar excitonic mode in the candidate zero-gap semiconductor Ta2NiSe5disentangling it from the lattice phonons. The excitonic mode pronouncedly softens close to the phase transition, showing its electronic character, while its coupling to noncritical lattice modes is shown to enhance the transition temperature. On cooling, we observe the gradual emergence of coherent superpositions of band states at the correlated insulator gap edge, with strong departures from mean-field theory predictions. Our results demonstrate the realization of a strongly correlated excitonic state in an equilibrium bulk material.

     
    more » « less