SCIENCE CHINA Materials, Volume 63 , Issue 8 : 1537-1547(2020) https://doi.org/10.1007/s40843-020-1353-3

Band structure engineered tunneling heterostructures for high-performance visible and near-infrared photodetection

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  • ReceivedMar 11, 2020
  • AcceptedApr 12, 2020
  • PublishedJun 19, 2020


Tunneling heterostructures are emerging as a versatile architecture for photodetection due to their advanced optical sensitivity, tailorable detection band, and well-balanced photoelectric performances. However, the existing tunneling heterostructures are mainly operated in the visible wavelengths and have been rarely investigated for the near-infrared detection. Herein, we report the design and realization of a novel broken-gap tunneling heterostructure by combining WSe2 and Bi2Se3, which is able to realize the simultaneous visible and near-infrared detection because of the complementary bandgaps of WSe2 and Bi2Se3 (1.46 and 0.3 eV, respectively). Thanks to the realigned band structure, the heterostructure shows an ultralow dark current below pico-ampere and a high tunneling-dominated photocurrent. The photodetector based on our tunneling heterostructure exhibits a superior specific detectivity of 7.9×1012 Jones for a visible incident of 532 nm and 2.2×1010 Jones for a 1456 nm near-infrared illumination. Our study demonstrates a new band structure engineering avenue for the construction of van der Waals tunneling heterostructures for high-performance wide band photodetection.

Funded by

the National Nature Science Foundation of China(21825103,51727809)

Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation(2019CFA002)

and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities(2019kfyXMBZ018)


This work was supported by the National Nature Science Foundation of China (21825103 and 51727809), Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (2019CFA002) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (2019kfyXMBZ018). The authors thank the Analytical and Testing Centre of Huazhong University of Science and Technology.

Interest statement

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Contributions statement

Wang F and Huang Y fabricated the devices. Zhang Y and Zhang Q did the AFM and Raman measurements, respectively. Wang F performed the characterization and wrote the manuscript. Zhai T supervised the project. Wang F, Luo P, Yuan L and Zhai T discussed the manuscript and made the revision.

Author information

Fakun Wang received his BSc degree in mineral processing engineering from Central South University in 2016. He is studying for his PhD degree at Huazhong University and Technology under the supervision of professor Tianyou Zhai. His work focuses on the controllable synthesis of low-dimensional inorganic materials, and their promising applications in optoelectronics.

Tianyou Zhai received his BSc degree in chemistry from Zhengzhou University in 2003, and PhD degree in physical chemistry from the Institute of Chemistry, Chinese Academy of Sciences (ICCAS) under the supervision of Prof. Jiannian Yao in 2008. Afterwards he joined the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS, Japan) as a postdoctoral fellow of Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) in Prof. Yoshio Bando’s group and then as a researcher of the International Center for Young Scientists (ICYS) within NIMS. Currently, he is a chief professor of the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology. His research interests include the controlled synthesis and exploration of fundamental physical properties of inorganic functional nanomaterials, as well as their promising applications in energy science, electronics and optoelectronics.


Supplementary information

Supporting data are available in the online version of the paper.


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  • Figure 1

    Device structure and optical characterizations. (a) 3D schematic of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure. (b, c) Optical image and AFM of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure. (d) Raman spectra of the pristine Bi2Se3, WSe2 and the heterostructure. (e) PL spectra measured for WSe2 and the heterostructure. (f) PL mapping of the region surrounded by red dashed lines in Fig. 1b. The dark portion from the overlapped region suggests strong PL quenching. (g) Time-dependence PL spectra of the isolated WSe2 and Bi2Se3/WSe2. (h) Schematic diagram of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure band structure and photoexcitation.

  • Figure 2

    Electrical characteristics of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure. (a) The schematic diagram of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure for electrical measurements. (b, c) Output characteristics of Bi2Se3 and WSe2, respectively. (d, e) Transfer characteristics of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure.

  • Figure 3

    Tunneling behavior of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure. (a) Ids-Vds curve of the heterostructure. (b) Ids-Vds characteristic of the heterostructure in double-log scale. (c) Fowler-Nordheim fitting of forward current. (d) Band diagrams of the heterostructure at different bias voltages.

  • Figure 4

    Photoelectric characteristics of the tunneling heterostructure. (a, b) Ids-Vds curves of the heterostructure under 532 and 1456 nm laser illumination with various power densities, respectively. (c) DT fitting of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure at reverse bias voltage. (d) Light on/off ratio as a function of bias voltage under 532 nm@73.06 mW cm−2 and 1456 nm@142.93 mW cm−2. (e, f) Energy band diagram of the Bi2Se3/WSe2 heterostructure at reverse bias voltage.

  • Figure 5

    Photoresponse performance of the heterostructure at wavelengths of 532 and 1456 nm. (a) Incident power density dependence of responsivity at different Vds. (b) Spectra of current noises at Vds=±5 V. (c) NEP as a function of power density. (d) Specific detectivity versus the incident power density. (e) Time-resolved photoresponse of the heterostructure under 532 and 1456 nm laser illumination. (f) Response time curve of the heterostructure under 1456 nm illumination.

  • Table 1   Table 1 Photoelectric performance comparison of this work with similar vdWH photodetectors previously reported


    Wavelength (nm)

    Bias (V)

    On/off ratio

    Responsivity (A W−1)

    Detectivity (Jones)

    Response rate


    22 nm BP-12 nm MoS2







    1.5 nm WSe2-4 nm SnS2







    13/24 ms


    11.5 nm AsP-10 nm InSe






    217/89 μs


    NA Bi2Te3-NA WSe2a




    180/210 μs


    10.5 nm Bi2Se3-5.6 nm WSe2






    1.5/0.11 ms

    This work

    22 nm BP-12 nm MoS2






    15 μs


    11.5 nm AsP-10 nm InSe







    4 nm Bi2Te3-15 nm WS2





    20 ms


    NA Bi2Te3-NA WSe2a





    10.5 nm Bi2Se3-5.6 nm WSe2






    4 ms

    This work

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