Indirect-to-Direct Band Gap Crossover in Few-Layer MoTe2

We study the evolution of the band gap structure in few-layer MoTe2 crystals, by means of low-temperature microreflectance (MR) and temperature-dependent photoluminescence (PL) measurements. The analysis of the measurements indicate that in complete analogy with other semiconducting transition metal dichalchogenides (TMDs) the dominant PL emission peaks originate from direct transitions associated with recombination of excitons and trions. When we follow the evolution of the PL intensity as a function of layer thickness, however, we observe that MoTe2 behaves differently from other semiconducting TMDs investigated earlier. Specifically, the exciton PL yield (integrated PL intensity) is identical for mono and bilayer, decreases slightly for trilayer, and it is significantly lower in the tetralayer. The analysis of this behavior and of all our experimental observations is fully consistent with mono and bilayer MoTe2 being direct band gap semiconductors with tetralayer MoTe2 being an indirect gap semiconductor and with trilayers having nearly identical direct and indirect gaps. This conclusion is different from the one reached for other recently investigated semiconducting transition metal dichalcogenides for which monolayers are found to be direct band gap semiconductors, and thicker layers have indirect band gaps that are significantly smaller (by hundreds of meV) than the direct gap. We discuss the relevance of our findings for experiments of fundamental interest and possible future device applications.

More on this topic : I.G. Lezama et al.,  NanoLetters 15, 2336, (2015)