Design of van der Waals interfaces for broad-spectrum optoelectronics


Van der Waals (vdW) interfaces based on 2D materials are promising for optoelectronics, as interlayer transitions between different compounds allow tailoring of the spectral response over a broad range. However, issues such as lattice mismatch or a small misalignment of the constituent layers can drastically suppress electron–photon coupling for these interlayer transitions. Here, we engineered type-II interfaces by assembling atomically thin crystals that have the bottom of the conduction band and the top of the valence band at the Γ point, and thus avoid any momentum mismatch. We found that these van der Waals interfaces exhibit radiative optical transitions irrespective of the lattice constant, the rotational and/or translational alignment of the two layers or whether the constituent materials are direct or indirect gap semiconductors. Being robust and of general validity, our results broaden the scope of future optoelectronics device applications based on two-dimensional materials.

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Fig. 1: PL of 2L-InSe/2L-WS2 interfaces.
Fig. 2: Direct interlayer transition in 2L-InSe/2L-WS2 interfaces.
Fig. 3: Robust k-direct interlayer transitions at Γ in InSe–TMD multilayer interfaces.
Fig. 4: Band diagram of vdW interfaces.

Data availability

The data supporting the findings of this study will be made available free of charges as soon as possible on the Yareta repository of the University of Geneva ( In the meantime, data are available from the corresponding authors without any restriction.


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We acknowledge A. Ferreira for continuous and precious technical support. A.F.M. acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (Division II) and from the EU Graphene Flagship project. N.U. acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation through the Ambizione program. R.V.G. and V.I.F. acknowledge financial support from European Graphene Flagship Core 2 Project under grant agreement 785219, ERC Synergy Grant Hetero2D, EPSRC grants EP/S030719/1, EP/S019367/1, EP/P026850/1 and EP/N010345/1, and a Lloyd Register Foundation Nanotechnology Grant. K.W. and T.T. acknowledge support from the Elemental Strategy Initiative conducted by the MEXT, Japan, A3 Foresight by JSPS and the CREST (JP-MJCR15F3), JST. Z.D.K. acknowledges the support from the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Author information

N.U., E.P., J.Z. and D.T. contributed equally. A.F.M. and V.I.F. conceived the idea of this project. N.U., E.P., D.T., D.D., J.Z., J.H. and I.G.-L. fabricated the heterostructures, participated in their characterization and analysed the data. D.T., J.Z., J.H., A.Z. and R.V.G. designed and performed the experiment on the lamella samples. V.Z. and V.I.F. developed the theory of optical transitions at Γ in vdW interfaces. Z.R.K., Z.D.K., A.P., T.T. and K.W. provided InSe and h-BN crystals. N.U., E.P., R.V.G., V.I.F. and A.F.M. wrote the manuscript with input from all the authors. All the authors discussed the results.

Correspondence to Nicolas Ubrig or Vladimir I. Fal’ko or Alberto F. Morpurgo.

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Ubrig, N., Ponomarev, E., Zultak, J. et al. Design of van der Waals interfaces for broad-spectrum optoelectronics. Nat. Mater. 19, 299–304 (2020).

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