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Molybdenum Disulfide: Advancing Quantum Emitters in 2D Materials

Jul 25, 2023

Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a high-performance lubricant commonly used in engines and turbines, has garnered attention for its potential in materials science and technology. MoS2, along with other transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), are considered key players in the field of two-dimensional (2D) materials. These 2D materials, with their unique properties, hold promise for applications in nanocomputers, integrated circuits, and quantum information technology.

Researchers at Empa are now focusing on investigating the atomic defects in TMDs, specifically MoS2, and their potential as quantum emitters. These emitters, which interface between electron spins and photons, are vital for quantum information processing and transmission. The team aims to characterize the defects and explore their electronic and optical properties with a nanoscale, ultrafast scanning tunneling microscope.

Precise imaging and analysis of defects in MoS2 are crucial for understanding dynamic processes at the atomic scale. The team aims to detect and investigate defects with accuracy down to one angstrom and record electronic excitations with a time resolution of one picosecond.

The experimental setup consists of two halves: a scanning tunneling microscope to scan the atomic surface and position the tip at a defect site, and an infrared laser that generates short laser pulses to excite electrons in the MoS2 layer. The response of the defect site to the excitation pulse is then analyzed to study decoherence processes and energy transfer.

Empa researcher Bruno Schuler and his team have made significant progress in their experimental setup, connecting the two halves of the system and successfully measuring lightwave-induced currents. These developments mark a major milestone in the project’s advancement.

The research is supported by funding from the European Research Council (ERC) through an ERC Starting Grant. With continued research and advancements in understanding atomic defects in MoS2 and other 2D materials, the potential for future applications in quantum technology and nanoelectronics is promising.