Research ArticlePHYSICS

Experimental measurement of the intrinsic excitonic wave function

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  21 Apr 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 17, eabg0192
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abg0192


An exciton, a two-body composite quasiparticle formed of an electron and hole, is a fundamental optical excitation in condensed matter systems. Since its discovery nearly a century ago, a measurement of the excitonic wave function has remained beyond experimental reach. Here, we directly image the excitonic wave function in reciprocal space by measuring the momentum distribution of electrons photoemitted from excitons in monolayer tungsten diselenide. By transforming to real space, we obtain a visual of the distribution of the electron around the hole in an exciton. Further, by also resolving the energy coordinate, we confirm the elusive theoretical prediction that the photoemitted electron exhibits an inverted energy-momentum dispersion relationship reflecting the valence band where the partner hole remains, rather than that of conduction band states of the electron.

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

Stay Connected to Science Advances