Colloquium Ehrenfestii: Z.X. Shen (Stanford) "Novel materials properties at atomically thin limit"



19:30 hrs


De Sitterzaal, Leiden


Title:  Novel materials properties at atomically thin limit


In this talk, I will discuss recent progresses in uncovering novel materials properties at ultra-thin limit, with focus on monolayer superconductor FeSe and semiconductor MoSe2 respectively.

The observation of a large superconducting-like energy gap which opens at temperatures up to 65 K in single unit cell (1UC) thick iron selenide films on SrTiO3(FeSe/STO) has generated tremendous interest. A challenge is to understand the cause of enhanced Cooper pairing strength in this system, and possibly increase superconducting Tc. In this talk, we show angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, mutual inductance, and other measurements on 1UC and multi-UC thick FeSe films grown on Nb-doped SrTiO3. Our data provide clear evidence for strong cross-interface electron-phonon coupling in single UC, raising the possibility that large pairing gap are caused by the strong coupling between the FeSe electrons and certain collective modes of SrTiO3. This suggests a pathway of “integrated functional components” approach to boost superconducting properties.

The intense interest of quantum systems in confined geometries is further amplified by the recent discovery of large enhancement in photo-luminescence quantum efficiency and a potential route to “valleytronics” in atomically thin layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) MX2 (M = Mo, W; X = S, Se, Te), which are closely related to the indirect to direct band gap transition in the single layer limit. Using angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (ARPES) on high quality thin film samples of MoSe2 grown by molecular beam epitaxy (MBE), we have made a direct observation of a distinct transition from indirect to direct band gap as the thickness of the sample is reduced to a monolayer. The experimental band structure indicates a stronger tendency of monolayer MoSe2 towards direct band gap with larger gap size than theoretical prediction. Moreover, our finding of a significant spin-splitting of ~180meV at the valence band maximum (VBM) of a monolayer MoSe2 film could greatly expand its possible application in spintronic devices.

If time permits, I will also discuss the superconductivity in CaC6 and its implication on a possible pathway for superconducting graphene.

In this colloquium I will discuss the surprising properties of this QGP on how we have measured this. 

Please Note:  Before the Colloquium, there is a common dinner in the canteen located on the ground floor of the Oort building. This dinner starts at 18:00 hours sharp and is free of charge, under the condition that one attends the colloquium and that one has made a reservation before noon on the Tuesday preceding the colloquium. The registration form is only accessible from within the University (to block spammers); if you would like to register for the dinner from outside the University, please send an email to