Single defect light-emitting diode in a van der Waals heterostructure

Genevieve Clark, John R. Schaibley, Jason Ross, Takashi Taniguchi, Kenji Watanabe, Joshua R. Hendrickson, Shin Mou, Wang Yao, Xiaodong Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Single defects in monolayer WSe2 have been shown to be a new class of single photon emitters and have potential applications in quantum technologies. Whereas previous work relied on optical excitation of single defects in isolated WSe2 monolayers, in this work we demonstrate electrically driven single defect light emission by using both vertical and lateral van der Waals heterostructure devices. In both device geometries, we use few layer graphene as the source and drain and hexagonal boron nitride as the dielectric spacer layers for engineered tunneling contacts. In addition, the lateral devices utilize a split back gate design to realize an electrostatically defined p-i-n junction. At low current densities and low temperatures (∼5 K), we observe narrow spectral lines in the electroluminescence (EL) whose properties are consistent with optically excited defect bound excitons. We show that the emission originates from spatially localized regions of the sample, and the EL spectrum from single defects has a doublet with the characteristic exchange splitting and linearly polarized selection rules. All are consistent with previously reported single photon-emitters in optical measurements. Our results pave the way for on-chip and electrically driven single photon sources in two-dimensional semiconductors for quantum technology applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3944-3948
Number of pages5
JournalNano Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 8 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Transition metal dichalcogenides
  • electroluminescence
  • single defect
  • tungsten diselenide
  • van der Waals heterostructure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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