A tunable band gap of the layered semiconductor Zn3In2S6 under pressure†
The band gap is an important property of a semiconductor, and a candidate material with a highly tunable band gap under external tuning parameters will offer wider applications in optoelectronic devices and photocatalytic fields. Here, we show that the layered semiconductor Zn3In2S6 possesses a band gap that is highly tunable with pressure. In situ optical absorption shows that the band gap unexpectedly widens with pressure up to ∼13 GPa. Sudden gap narrowing then occurs above 14 GPa, which is followed by progressive gap decreases on further compression and the gap finally closes above 20 GPa. Our study, encompassing X-ray diffraction, Raman spectroscopy experiments and theoretical calculations revealed that the selective responses of the different bonds are responsible for the band gap increase in the low-pressure ranges. We show that the pressure-induced irreversible amorphization is responsible for the sudden gap narrowing whereas the semiconductor–metallic transition is related to the amorphous–amorphous transition at high-pressure due to a change in the local coordination number of Zn atoms. This work demonstrates the high tunability of the electronic and optical properties of layered ternary semiconductors under pressure, providing a potential way for wider applications of this class of materials.