Non-equilibrium diffusion of dark excitons in atomically thin semiconductors†
Atomically thin semiconductors provide an excellent platform to study intriguing many-particle physics of tightly-bound excitons. In particular, the properties of tungsten-based transition metal dichalcogenides are determined by a complex manifold of bright and dark exciton states. While dark excitons are known to dominate the relaxation dynamics and low-temperature photoluminescence, their impact on the spatial propagation of excitons has remained elusive. In our joint theory-experiment study, we address this intriguing regime of dark state transport by resolving the spatio-temporal exciton dynamics in hBN-encapsulated WSe2 monolayers after resonant excitation. We find clear evidence of an unconventional, time-dependent diffusion during the first tens of picoseconds, exhibiting strong deviation from the steady-state propagation. Dark exciton states are initially populated by phonon emission from the bright states, resulting in creation of hot (unequilibrated) excitons whose rapid expansion leads to a transient increase of the diffusion coefficient by more than one order of magnitude. These findings are relevant for both fundamental understanding of the spatio-temporal exciton dynamics in atomically thin materials as well as their technological application by enabling rapid diffusion.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Recent Open Access Articles