Two-Dimensional Transition Metal Dichalcogenides with a Hexagonal Lattice: Room Temperature Quantum Spin Hall Insulators

Research paper by Yandong Ma, Liangzhi Kou, Xiao Li, Ying Dai, Thomas Heine

Indexed on: 10 Dec '15Published on: 10 Dec '15Published in: Physics - Materials Science


So far, several transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) based two-dimensional (2D) topological insulators (TIs) have been discovered, all of them based on a tetragonal lattice. However, in 2D crystals, the hexagonal rather than the tetragonal symmetry is the most common motif. Here, based on first-principles calculations, we propose a new class of stable 2D TMDCs of composition MX2 (M=Mo, W, X=S, Se, Te) with a hexagonal lattice. They are all in the same stability range as other 2D TMDC allotropes that have been demonstrated experimentally, and they are identified to be practical 2D TIs with large band gaps ranging from 41 to 198 meV, making them suitable for applications at room-temperature. Besides, in contrast to tetragonal 2D TMDs, their hexagonal lattice will greatly facilitate the integration of theses novel TI states van-der-Waals crystals with other hexagonal or honeycomb materials, and thus provide a route for 2D-material-based devices for wider nanoelectronic and spintronic applications. The nontrivial band gaps of both WSe2 and WTe2 2D crystals are 198 meV, which are larger than that in any previously reported TMDC-based TIs. These large band gaps entirely stem from the strong spin-orbit coupling strength within the d orbitals of Mo/W atoms near the Fermi level. Our findings will significantly broaden the scientific and technological impact of both 2D TIs and TMDCs.