Due to their layered structure, two-dimensional Ruddlesden–Popper perovskites (RPPs), composed of multiple organic/inorganic quantum wells, can in principle be exfoliated down to few and single layers. These molecularly thin layers are expected to present unique properties with respect to the bulk counterpart, due to increased lattice deformations caused by interface strain. Here, we have synthesized centimetre-sized, pure-phase single-crystal RPP perovskites (CH3(CH2)3NH3)2(CH3NH3)n−1PbnI3n+1 (n = 1–4) from which single quantum well layers have been exfoliated. We observed a reversible shift in excitonic energies induced by laser annealing on exfoliated layers encapsulated by hexagonal boron nitride. Moreover, a highly efficient photodetector was fabricated using a molecularly thin n = 4 RPP crystal, showing a photogain of 105 and an internal quantum efficiency of ~34%. Our results suggest that, thanks to their dynamic structure, atomically thin perovskites enable an additional degree of control for the bandgap engineering of these materials

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K.L. thanks the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) for scholarship support. I.A. acknowledges the NUS–Imperial Joint PhD programme. K.P.L. acknowledges A* star DST funding under the project ‘Flexible and High Performance Based Perovskite Solar Cells on Graphene’ (no. R-143000-598-305). K.L. thanks I.-H. Park for help with solving single-crystal data, L. Wang for discussions of this work and H. Zhu for help with photoluminescence lifetime tests. G.E. acknowledges the Singapore Ministry of Education Tier 2 grant (MOE2015-T2-2-123).

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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Kai Leng, Ibrahim Abdelwahab.


  1. Department of Chemistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    • Kai Leng
    • , Ibrahim Abdelwahab
    • , Mykola Telychko
    • , Leiqiang Chu
    • , Wei Fu
    • , Xiao Chi
    • , Zhihui Chen
    • , Zhongxin Chen
    • , Qing-Hua Xu
    • , Jiong Lu
    • , Goki Eda
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  2. Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), Singapore, Singapore

    • Kai Leng
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  3. Center for Advanced 2D Materials and Graphene Research Centre, Singapore, Singapore

    • Kai Leng
    • , Ibrahim Abdelwahab
    • , Ivan Verzhbitskiy
    • , Mykola Telychko
    • , Leiqiang Chu
    • , Wei Fu
    • , Jiong Lu
    • , Goki Eda
    •  & Kian Ping Loh
  4. NUS Graduate School for Integrative Sciences and Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    • Ibrahim Abdelwahab
    •  & Zhongxin Chen
  5. Department of Physics, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore

    • Ivan Verzhbitskiy
    • , Na Guo
    • , Chun Zhang
    •  & Goki Eda
  6. Materials Science and Engineering, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA

    • Manish Chhowalla


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K.L. and K.P.L. conceived and designed the experiments. K.L. fabricated all RPP single crystals. K.L. and I.A. prepared all atomically thin samples and performed AFM measurements in the glove box. I.V. and K.L. tested the PC device. M.T. performed Q-plus nc-AFM scanning. K.L. and I.A. prepared samples for Q-plus nc-AFM scanning. K.L., L.Q.C. and I.A. performed photoluminescence measurements. I.A. and K.L. fabricated the devices. N.G. performed calculations. K.L. and K.P.L. wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the overall scientific interpretation.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kian Ping Loh.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Text, Supplementary Figures 1–13, Supplementary Tables 1–8, Supplementary Reference 1

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