npj 2D Materials and Applications

Bandgap engineering of two-dimensional semiconductor materials

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Semiconductors are the basis of many vital technologies such as electronics, computing, communications, optoelectronics, and sensing. Modern semiconductor technology can trace its origins to the invention of the point contact transistor in 1947. This demonstration paved the way for the development of discrete and integrated semiconductor devices and circuits that has helped to build a modern society where semiconductors are ubiquitous components of everyday life. A key property that determines the semiconductor electrical and optical properties is the bandgap. Beyond graphene, recently discovered two-dimensional (2D) materials possess semiconducting bandgaps ranging from the terahertz and mid-infrared in bilayer graphene and black phosphorus, visible in transition metal dichalcogenides, to the ultraviolet in hexagonal boron nitride. In particular, these 2D materials were demonstrated to exhibit highly tunable bandgaps, achieved via the control of layers number, heterostructuring, strain engineering, chemical doping, alloying, intercalation, substrate engineering, as well as an external electric field. We provide a review of the basic physical principles of these various techniques on the engineering of quasi-particle and optical bandgaps, their bandgap tunability, potentials and limitations in practical realization in future 2D device technologies.