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Detecting, distinguishing, and spatiotemporally tracking photogenerated charge and heat at the nanoscale

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posted on 2023-05-25, 16:02 authored by Hannah L. Weaver, Cora M. Went, Joeson Wong, Dipti Jasrasaria, Eran Rabani, Harry A. Atwater, Naomi S. Ginsberg
Since dissipative processes are ubiquitous in semiconductors, characterizing how electronic and thermal energy transduce and transport at the nanoscale is vital for understanding and leveraging their fundamental properties. For example, in low-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs), excess heat generation upon photoexcitation is difficult to avoid since even with modest injected exciton densities, exciton-exciton annihilation still occurs. Both heat and photoexcited electronic species imprint transient changes in the optical response of a semiconductor, yet the unique signatures of each are difficult to disentangle in typical spectra due to overlapping resonances. In response, we employ stroboscopic optical scattering microscopy (stroboSCAT) to simultaneously map both heat and exciton populations in few-layer \ch{MoS2} on relevant nanometer and picosecond length- and time scales and with 100-mK temperature sensitivity. We discern excitonic contributions to the signal from heat by combining observations close to and far from exciton resonances, characterizing photoinduced dynamics for each. Our approach is general and can be applied to any electronic material, including thermoelectrics, where heat and electronic observables spatially interplay, and lays the groundwork for direct and quantitative discernment of different types of coexisting energy without recourse to complex models or underlying assumptions.

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