Structural semiconductor-to-semimetal phase transition in two-dimensional materials induced by electrostatic gating.

Nature communications

PubMedID: 26868916

Li Y, Duerloo KA, Wauson K, Reed EJ. Structural semiconductor-to-semimetal phase transition in two-dimensional materials induced by electrostatic gating. Nat Commun. 2016;710671.
Dynamic control of conductivity and optical properties via atomic structure changes is of technological importance in information storage. Energy consumption considerations provide a driving force towards employing thin materials in devices. Monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides are nearly atomically thin materials that can exist in multiple crystal structures, each with distinct electrical properties. By developing new density functional-based methods, we discover that electrostatic gating device configurations have the potential to drive structural semiconductor-to-semimetal phase transitions in some monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides. Here we show that the semiconductor-to-semimetal phase transition in monolayer MoTe2 can be driven by a gate voltage of several volts with appropriate choice of dielectric. We find that the transition gate voltage can be reduced arbitrarily by alloying, for example, for MoxW1-xTe2 monolayers. Our findings identify a new physical mechanism, not existing in bulk materials, to dynamically control structural phase transitions in two-dimensional materials, enabling potential applications in phase-change electronic devices.