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Quenching the bandgap of two-dimensional semiconductors with a perpendicular electric field

Abstract

Perpendicular electric fields can tune the electronic band structure of atomically thin semiconductors. In bilayer graphene, which is an intrinsic zero-gap semiconductor, a perpendicular electric field opens a finite bandgap. So far, however, the same principle could not be applied to control the properties of a broader class of 2D materials because the required electric fields are beyond reach in current devices. To overcome this limitation, we design double ionic gated transistors that enable the application of large electric fields of up to 3 V nm−1. Using such devices, we continuously suppress the bandgap of few-layer semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides (that is, bilayer to heptalayer WSe2) from 1.6 V to zero. Our results illustrate an excellent level of control of the band structure of 2D semiconductors.

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Fig. 1: Double ionic gated field-effect transistors.
Fig. 2: Electrical characteristics of a double-gated 2L WSe2 transistor.
Fig. 3: Bandgap evolution as a function of the electric field.
Fig. 4: Quenching the gap in 3L, 4L and 5L WSe2 devices.

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available free of charge from the Yareta repository of the University of Geneva at https://doi.org/10.26037/yareta:txap4ayzibcm5hcipvvzufx72a. This repository contains the data presented in all figures, including those in the Supplementary Information.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank A. Ferreira for technical support. A.F.M. acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (Division II) and from the EU Graphene Flagship project. M.G. acknowledges support from the Italian Ministry for University and Research through the Levi-Montalcini programme.

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Contributions

D.D., M.P., N.U. and I.G.-L. fabricated the devices and carried out the experiments. D.D., M.P., I.G.-L. and A.F.M. analysed the experimental data. M.G. performed the first-principles simulations. I.G.-L. supervised the experimental work, and A.F.M. conceived and directed the research. All authors participated in preparing the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Alberto F. Morpurgo.

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Domaretskiy, D., Philippi, M., Gibertini, M. et al. Quenching the bandgap of two-dimensional semiconductors with a perpendicular electric field. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-022-01183-4

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