Orientation of luminescent excitons in layered nanomaterials

Jon A. Schuller, Sinan Karaveli, Theanne Schiros, Keliang He, Shyuan Yang, Ioannis Kymissis, Jie Shan, Rashid Zia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

239 Scopus citations


In nanomaterials, optical anisotropies reveal a fundamental relationship between structural and optical properties. Directional optical properties can be exploited to enhance the performance of optoelectronic devices, optomechanical actuators and metamaterials. In layered materials, optical anisotropies may result from in-plane and out-of-plane dipoles associated with intra- and interlayer excitations, respectively. Here, we resolve the orientation of luminescent excitons and isolate photoluminescence signatures arising from distinct intra- and interlayer optical transitions. Combining analytical calculations with energy- and momentum-resolved spectroscopy, we distinguish between in-plane and out-of-plane oriented excitons in materials with weak or strong interlayer coupling - MoS 2 and 3,4,9,10-perylene tetracarboxylic dianhydride (PTCDA), respectively. We demonstrate that photoluminescence from MoS2 mono-, bi- and trilayers originates solely from in-plane excitons, whereas PTCDA supports distinct in-plane and out-of-plane exciton species with different spectra, dipole strengths and temporal dynamics. The insights provided by this work are important for understanding fundamental excitonic properties in nanomaterials and designing optical systems that efficiently excite and collect light from exciton species with different orientations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-276
Number of pages6
JournalNature nanotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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