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Rapid transitions between semiconducting and metallic phases of transition-metal dichalcogenides are of interest for 2D electronics applications. Theoretical investigations have been limited to using thermal energy, lattice strain and charge doping to induce the phase transition, but have not identified mechanisms for rapid phase transition. Here, we use density functional theory to show how optical excitation leads to the formation of a low-energy intermediate crystal structure along the semiconductor-metal phase transition pathway. This metastable crystal structure results in significantly reduced barriers for the semiconducting-metal phase transition pathway leading to rapid transition in optically excited crystals.
Ultrafast atomic dynamics induced by electronic and optical excitation opens new possibilities for functionalization of two-dimensional and layered materials. Understanding the impact of perturbed valence band populations on both the strong covalent bonds and relatively weaker van der Waals interactions is important for these anisotropic systems. While the dynamics of strong covalent bonds has been explored both experimentally and theoretically, relatively fewer studies have focused on the impact of excitation on weak bonds like van der Waals and hydrogen-bond interactions. We perform non-adiabatic quantum molecular dynamics (NAQMD) simulations to study photo-induced dynamics in MoS2 bilayer. We observe photo-induced non-thermal contraction of the interlayer distance in the MoS2 bilayer within 100 femtoseconds after photoexcitation. We identify a large photo-induced redistribution of electronic charge density, whose Coulombic interactions could explain the observed inter-layer contraction.
Monolayers of semiconducting transitional metal dichalcogenides (TMDC) are emerging as strong candidate materials for next generation electronic and optoelectronic devices, with applications in field-effect transistors, valleytronics, and photovoltaics. Prior studies have demonstrated strong light-matter interactions in these materials, suggesting optical control of material properties as a promising route for their functionalization. However, the electronic and structural dynamics in response to electronic excitation have not yet been fully elucidated. In this work, we use non-adiabatic quantum molecular dynamics simulations based on time-dependent density functional theory to study lattice dynamics of a model TMDC monolayer of MoSe2 after electronic excitation. The simulation results show rapid, sub-picosecond lattice response, as well as finite-size effects. Understanding the sub-picosecond atomic dynamics is important for the realization of optical control of the material properties of monolayer TMDCs, which is a hopeful, straightforward tactic for functionalizing these materials.
Vertical hetero-structures made from stacked monolayers of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDC) are promising candidates for next-generation optoelectronic and thermoelectric devices. Identification of optimal layered materials for these applications requires the calculation of several physical properties, including electronic band structure and thermal transport coefficients. However, exhaustive screening of the material structure space using ab initio calculations is currently outside the bounds of existing computational resources. Furthermore, the functional form of how the physical properties relate to the structure is unknown, making gradient-based optimization unsuitable. Here, we present a model based on the Bayesian optimization technique to optimize layered TMDC hetero-structures, performing a minimal number of structure calculations. We use the electronic band gap and thermoelectric figure of merit as representative physical properties for optimization. The electronic band structure calculations were performed within the Materials Project framework, while thermoelectric properties were computed with BoltzTraP. With high probability, the Bayesian optimization process is able to discover the optimal hetero-structure after evaluation of only ∼20% of all possible 3-layered structures. In addition, we have used a Gaussian regression model to predict not only the band gap but also the valence band maximum and conduction band minimum energies as a function of the momentum.
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