Imaging moiré flat bands in three-dimensional reconstructed WSe2/WS2 superlattices

Hongyuan Li, Shaowei Li, Mit H. Naik, Jingxu Xie, Xinyu Li, Jiayin Wang, Emma Regan, Danqing Wang, Wenyu Zhao, Sihan Zhao, Salman Kahn, Kentaro Yumigeta, Mark Blei, Takashi Taniguchi, Kenji Watanabe, Sefaattin Tongay, Alex Zettl, Steven G. Louie, Feng Wang, Michael F. Crommie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Moiré superlattices in transition metal dichalcogenide (TMD) heterostructures can host novel correlated quantum phenomena due to the interplay of narrow moiré flat bands and strong, long-range Coulomb interactions1–9. However, microscopic knowledge of the atomically reconstructed moiré superlattice and resulting flat bands is still lacking, which is critical for fundamental understanding and control of the correlated moiré phenomena. Here we quantitatively study the moiré flat bands in three-dimensional (3D) reconstructed WSe2/WS2 moiré superlattices by comparing scanning tunnelling spectroscopy (STS) of high-quality exfoliated TMD heterostructure devices with ab initio simulations of TMD moiré superlattices. A strong 3D buckling reconstruction accompanied by large in-plane strain redistribution is identified in our WSe2/WS2 moiré heterostructures. STS imaging demonstrates that this results in a remarkably narrow and highly localized K-point moiré flat band at the valence band edge of the heterostructure. A series of moiré flat bands are observed at different energies that exhibit varying degrees of localization. Our observations contradict previous simplified theoretical models but agree quantitatively with ab initio simulations that fully capture the 3D structural reconstruction. Our results reveal that the strain redistribution and 3D buckling in TMD heterostructures dominate the effective moiré potential and the corresponding moiré flat bands at the Brillouin zone K points.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)945-950
Number of pages6
JournalNature materials
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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