29.09.2022 Formation of moiré interlayer excitons in space and time (published in Nature)

Moiré superlattices in atomically thin van der Waals heterostructures hold great promise for extended control of electronic and valleytronic lifetimes, the confinement of excitons in artificial moiré lattices and the formation of exotic quantum phases. Such moiré-induced emergent phenomena are particularly strong for interlayer excitons, where the hole and the electron are localized in different layers of the heterostructure. To exploit the full potential of correlated moiré and exciton physics, a thorough understanding of the ultrafast interlayer exciton formation process and the real-space wavefunction confinement is indispensable. Here we show that femtosecond photoemission momentum microscopy provides quantitative access to these key properties of the moiré interlayer excitons. First, we elucidate that interlayer excitons are dominantly formed through femtosecond exciton–phonon scattering and subsequent charge transfer at the interlayer-hybridized Σ valleys. Second, we show that interlayer excitons exhibit a momentum fingerprint that is a direct hallmark of the superlattice moiré modification. Third, we reconstruct the wavefunction distribution of the electronic part of the exciton and compare the size with the real-space moiré superlattice. Our work provides direct access to interlayer exciton formation dynamics in space and time and reveals opportunities to study correlated moiré and exciton physics for the future realization of exotic quantum phases of matter.

Nature 608, 499 (2022)