Theoretical characterization of the electronic properties of heterogeneous vertical stacks of 2D metal dichalcogenides containing one doped layer†
The rise of van der Waals hetero-structures based on transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) opens the door to a new generation of optoelectronic devices. A key factor controlling the operation and performance of such devices is the relative alignment of the band edges of the components. The electronic properties of the layers can be further modulated by chemical doping, typically leading to the introduction of gap states. However, it is not clear whether the impact of doping in a given layer is preserved when building vertical stacks incorporating it. This has motivated the present study aiming at shedding light by means of first-principles calculations on the electronic properties of heterogeneous bilayers containing one doped layer. Doping has been achieved based on the experimental literature by inserting the dopants by substitution in the 2D layer, by covalently attaching adatoms or functional groups on the surface, or by physisorbing electroactive molecules. Interestingly, very different scenarios can be encountered depending on the two materials present and the nature of doping. The impact of doping is preserved when the trap levels associated with the dopants lie in the bandgap of the bilayer. On the other hand, the pristine neutral layer can get doped to an extent depending on how its electrons can fill the trap levels associated with the other component. Altogether, the present theoretical work demonstrates that the properties of the bilayers are not simply defined by additive rules of the components.