Electrically driven photon emission from individual atomic defects in monolayer WS2

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Science Advances  16 Sep 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 38, eabb5988
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb5988


Quantum dot–like single-photon sources in transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) exhibit appealing quantum optical properties but lack a well-defined atomic structure and are subject to large spectral variability. Here, we demonstrate electrically stimulated photon emission from individual atomic defects in monolayer WS2 and directly correlate the emission with the local atomic and electronic structure. Radiative transitions are locally excited by sequential inelastic electron tunneling from a metallic tip into selected discrete defect states in the WS2 bandgap. Coupling to the optical far field is mediated by tip plasmons, which transduce the excess energy into a single photon. The applied tip-sample voltage determines the transition energy. Atomically resolved emission maps of individual point defects closely resemble electronic defect orbitals, the final states of the optical transitions. Inelastic charge carrier injection into localized defect states of two-dimensional materials provides a powerful platform for electrically driven, broadly tunable, atomic-scale single-photon sources.

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