Detection of thermodynamic “valley noise” in monolayer semiconductors: Access to intrinsic valley relaxation time scales

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  01 Mar 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 3, eaau4899
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau4899


Together with charge and spin, many novel two-dimensional materials also permit information to be encoded in an electron’s valley degree of freedom—that is, in particular momentum states in the material’s Brillouin zone. With a view toward valley-based (opto)electronic technologies, the intrinsic time scales of valley scattering are therefore of fundamental interest. Here, we demonstrate an entirely noise-based approach for exploring valley dynamics in monolayer transition-metal dichalcogenide semiconductors. Exploiting their valley-specific optical selection rules, we use optical Faraday rotation to passively detect the thermodynamic fluctuations of valley polarization in a Fermi sea of resident carriers. This spontaneous “valley noise” reveals narrow Lorentzian line shapes and, therefore, long exponentially-decaying intrinsic valley relaxation. Moreover, the noise signatures validate both the relaxation times and the spectral dependence of conventional (perturbative) pump-probe measurements. These results provide a viable route toward quantitative measurements of intrinsic valley dynamics, free from any external perturbation, pumping, or excitation.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text