Excitonic insulator in a heterojunction moiré superlattice

Dongxue Chen, Zhen Lian, Xiong Huang, Ying Su, Mina Rashetnia, Lei Ma, Li Yan, Mark Blei, Li Xiang, Takashi Taniguchi, Kenji Watanabe, Sefaattin Tongay, Dmitry Smirnov, Zenghui Wang, Chuanwei Zhang, Yong Tao Cui, Su Fei Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Two-dimensional moiré superlattices provide a highly tunable platform to study strongly correlated physics. In particular, the moiré superlattices of two-dimensional semiconductor heterojunctions have been shown to host tunable correlated electronic states such as a Mott insulator and generalized Wigner crystals1–4. Here we report the observation of an excitonic insulator5–7, a correlated state with strongly bound electrons and holes, in an angle-aligned monolayer WS2/bilayer WSe2 moiré superlattice. The moiré coupling induces a flat miniband on the valence-band side only in the first WSe2 layer interfacing WS2. The electrostatically introduced holes first fill this miniband and form a Mott insulator when the carrier density corresponds to one hole per moiré supercell. By applying a vertical electric field, we tune the valence band in the second WSe2 layer to overlap with the moiré miniband in the first WSe2 layer, realizing the coexistence of electrons and holes at equilibrium, which are bound as excitons due to a strong Coulomb interaction. We show that this new bound state is an excitonic insulator with a transition temperature as high as 90 K. Our study demonstrates a moiré system for the study of correlated many-body physics in two dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1171-1176
Number of pages6
JournalNature Physics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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