Electrically Switchable Chiral Light-Emitting Transistor

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Science  16 May 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6185, pp. 725-728
DOI: 10.1126/science.1251329

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Controlling Chiral Light Emission

Circularly polarized light plays important roles in a number of applications such as displays, communication, and sensing. Thus, the ability to produce compact and readily controllable polarized light sources is important, and dichalcogenide materials such as tungsten diselenide may provide a route to such sources. Zhang et al. (p. 725, published online 17 April; see the Perspective by Zaumseil) formed an electric-double-layer transistor structure with WSe2 and used a gated ionic liquid to control the carrier density. Electrical control of the output light was achieved with the polarization being switched by reversing the polarity of the applied field and injected charge.


Tungsten diselenide (WSe2) and related transition metal dichalcogenides exhibit interesting optoelectronic properties owing to their peculiar band structures originating from the valley degree of freedom. Although the optical generation and detection of valley polarization has been demonstrated, it has been difficult to realize active valley-dependent functions suitable for device applications. We report an electrically switchable, circularly polarized light source based on the material’s valley degree of freedom. Our WSe2-based ambipolar transistors emit circularly polarized electroluminescence from p-i-n junctions electrostatically formed in transistor channels. This phenomenon can be explained qualitatively by the electron-hole overlap controlled by the in-plane electric field. Our device demonstrates a route to exploit the valley degree of freedom and the possibility to develop a valley-optoelectronics technology.

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