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  1. Abstract

    Group IV‐VI van der Waals crystals (MX, where M = Ge, Sn, and X = S, Se) are receiving increasing attention as semiconducting thermoelectric materials with nontoxic, earth‐abundant composition. Among them, SnSe is considered the most promising as it exhibits a remarkably high thermoelectric figure of merit (ZT), initially attributed to its low lattice thermal conductivity. However, it has been shown that the electronic band structure plays an equally important role in thermoelectric performance. A certain band shape, described as a “pudding mold” and characteristic for all MXs, has been predicted to significantly improveZTby combining good electrical conductivity with high Seebeck coefficient. This subtle feature is explored experimentally for GeS, SnS, and SnSe by means of angle‐resolved photoemission spectroscopy. The technique also allows for the determination of the effective mass and Fermi level position of as‐grown undoped crystals. The findings are supported by ab initio calculations of the electronic band structure. The results greatly contribute to the general understanding of the valence band dispersion of MXs and reinforce their potential as high‐performance thermoelectric materials, additionally giving prospects for designing systems consisting of van der Waals heterostructures.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2025
  2. Abstract

    Transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), especially in two-dimensional (2D) form, exhibit many properties desirable for device applications. However, device performance can be hindered by the presence of defects. Here, we combine state of the art experimental and computational approaches to determine formation energies and charge transition levels of defects in bulk and 2D MX2(M = Mo or W; X = S, Se, or Te). We perform deep level transient spectroscopy (DLTS) measurements of bulk TMDs. Simultaneously, we calculate formation energies and defect levels of all native point defects, which enable identification of levels observed in DLTS and extend our calculations to vacancies in 2D TMDs, for which DLTS is challenging. We find that reduction of dimensionality of TMDs to 2D has a significant impact on defect properties. This finding may explain differences in optical properties of 2D TMDs synthesized with different methods and lays foundation for future developments of more efficient TMD-based devices.

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  3. The rare-earth tritellurides (RTe 3 ) are a distinct class of 2D layered materials that recently gained significant attention due to hosting such quantum collective phenomena as superconductivity or charge density waves (CDWs). Many members of this van der Waals (vdW) family crystals exhibit CDW behavior at room temperature, i.e. , RTe 3 compound where R = La, Ce, Pr, Nd, Sm, Gd, and Tb. Here, our systematic studies establish the CDW properties of RTe 3 when the vdW spacing/interaction strength between adjacent RTe 3 layers is engineered under extreme hydrostatic pressures. Using a non-destructive spectroscopy technique, pressure-dependent Raman studies first establish the pressure coefficients of phonon and CDW amplitude modes for a variety of RTe 3 materials, including LaTe 3 , CeTe 3 , PrTe 3 , NdTe 3 , SmTe 3 , GdTe 3 , and TbTe 3 . Results further show that the CDW phase is eventually suppressed at high pressures when the interlayer spacing is reduced and interaction strength is increased. Comparison between different RTe 3 materials shows that LaTe 3 with the largest thermodynamic equilibrium interlayer spacing (smallest chemical pressure) exhibits the most stable CDW phases at high pressures. In contrast, CDW phases in late RTe 3 systems with the largest internal chemical pressures are suppressed easily with applied pressure. Overall results provide comprehensive insights into the CDW response of the entire RTe 3 series under extreme pressures, offering an understanding of CDW formation/engineering in a unique class of vdW RTe 3 material systems. 
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  4. Band gap alignments of BGaInAs/GaAs quantum wells with mole fractions of indium around 40% and mole fractions of boron ranging from 0% up to 4.75% are studied experimentally by photoreflectance (PR) and photoluminescence (PL). Obtained results are explained within ak · pmodel within an envelope function approximation. The study shows an increase of the valence band offset with an addition of boron into the thin film at a rate of around 4.2% per 1% of boron incorporated. Non-zero bowing parameters of valence band offsets for ternary alloys with boron (BGaAs and BInAs) are estimated. Moreover, it was observed that unlike in other highly mismatched alloy systems the incorporation of boron does not significantly deteriorate the optical quality of the studied samples, i.e., the broadening of optical transitions observed in PR and PL is very comparable to that observed for the reference QW, and the PL properties of boron containing QWs are similar to the reference boron free QW. Some deterioration of optical quality due to the increased alloy inhomogeneity is observed only for the sample with the highest concentration of B (4.2%).

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  7. Abstract

    The ReX2system (X = S, Se) exhibits unique properties that differ from other transition metal dichalcogenides. Remarkably, its reduced crystal symmetry results in a complex electronic band structure that confers this material in-plane anisotropic properties. In addition, multilayered ReX2presents a strong 2D character even in its bulk form. To fully understand the interlayer interaction in this system, it is necessary to obtain an accurate picture of the electronic band structure. Here, we present an experimental and theoretical study of the electronic band structure of ReS2and ReSe2at high-hydrostatic pressures. The experiments are performed by photoreflectance spectroscopy and are analyzed in terms of ab initio calculations within the density functional theory. Experimental pressure coefficients for the two most dominant excitonic transitions are obtained and compared with those predicted by the calculations. We assign the transitions to the Zk-point of the Brillouin zone and otherk-points located away from high-symmetry points. The origin of the pressure coefficients of the measured direct transitions is discussed in terms of orbital analysis of the electronic structure and van der Waals interlayer interaction. The anisotropic optical properties are studied at high pressure by means of polarization-resolved photoreflectance measurements.

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