Research ArticlePHYSICS

Direct evidence for efficient ultrafast charge separation in epitaxial WS2/graphene heterostructures

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Science Advances  13 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 20, eaay0761
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay0761


We use time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (tr-ARPES) to investigate ultrafast charge transfer in an epitaxial heterostructure made of monolayer WS2 and graphene. This heterostructure combines the benefits of a direct-gap semiconductor with strong spin-orbit coupling and strong light-matter interaction with those of a semimetal hosting massless carriers with extremely high mobility and long spin lifetimes. We find that, after photoexcitation at resonance to the A-exciton in WS2, the photoexcited holes rapidly transfer into the graphene layer while the photoexcited electrons remain in the WS2 layer. The resulting charge-separated transient state is found to have a lifetime of ∼1 ps. We attribute our findings to differences in scattering phase space caused by the relative alignment of WS2 and graphene bands as revealed by high-resolution ARPES. In combination with spin-selective optical excitation, the investigated WS2/graphene heterostructure might provide a platform for efficient optical spin injection into graphene.

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