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Merging the properties of VO2 and van der Waals (vdW) materials has given rise to novel tunable photonic devices. Despite recent studies on the effect of the phase change of VO2 on tuning near-field optical response of phonon polaritons in the infrared range, active tuning of optical phonons (OPhs) using far-field techniques has been scarce. Here, we investigate the tunability of OPhs of α-MoO3 in a multilayer structure with VO2. Our experiments show the frequency and intensity tuning of 2 cm–1 and 11% for OPhs in the  direction and 2 cm–1 and 28% for OPhs in the  crystal direction of α-MoO3. Using the effective medium theory and dielectric models of each layer, we verify these findings with simulations. We then use loss tangent analysis and remove the effect of the substrate to understand the origin of these spectral characteristics. We expect that these findings will assist in intelligently designing tunable photonic devices for infrared applications, such as tunable camouflage and radiative cooling devices.
Properties of semiconductors are largely defined by crystal imperfections including native defects. Van der Waals (vdW) semiconductors, a newly emerged class of materials, are no exception: defects exist even in the purest materials and strongly affect their electrical, optical, magnetic, catalytic and sensing properties. However, unlike conventional semiconductors where energy levels of defects are well documented, they are experimentally unknown in even the best studied vdW semiconductors, impeding the understanding and utilization of these materials. Here, we directly evaluate deep levels and their chemical trends in the bandgap of MoS2, WS2and their alloys by transient spectroscopic study. One of the deep levels is found to follow the conduction band minimum of each host, attributed to the native sulfur vacancy. A switchable, DX center - like deep level has also been identified, whose energy lines up instead on a fixed level across different hosts, explaining a persistent photoconductivity above 400 K.