New quasiparticle discovered in semiconductors

New quasiparticle discovered in semiconductors

Physicists from Switzerland and Germany have unveiled fingerprints of the long-sought particle known as Mahan exciton in the room temperature optical response of the popular methylammonium lead halide perovskites.

The optical properties of semiconductors are governed by the so-called “excitons”, which are bound pairs of negative electrons and positive holes. Excitons are important because they transport energy (with no net charge) across materials and thus they play a crucial role in a number of optoelectronic devices. The ability to control the excitonic properties of semiconductors (by tuning parameters such as temperature, pressure, charge density, electric and magnetic fields) is key to broadening the range and diversity of applications. In particular, when the density of charge carriers (electrons and holes) increases, excitons tend to melt and a semiconductor eventually turns into a metal at the so-called Mott density.

However, back in 1967, Gerald Mahan predicted that a different type of exciton can still persist above the Mott density. Despite years of research, this so-called Mahan exciton has not been observed, let alone under the normal operating conditions of devices.

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Source: “New quasiparticle unveiled in room temperature semiconductors”, EPFL News