Gate-Tunable Giant Stark Effect in Few-Layer Black Phosphorus

Two-dimensional black phosphorus (BP) has sparked enormous research interest due to its high carrier mobility, layer-dependent direct bandgap and outstanding in-plane anisotropic properties. BP is one of the few two-dimensional materials where it is possible to tune the bandgap over a wide energy range from the visible up to the infrared. In this article, we report the observation of a giant Stark effect in electrostatically gated few-layer BP. Using low-temperature scanning tunnelling microscopy, we observed that in few-layer BP, when electrons are injected, a monotonic reduction of the bandgap occurs. The injected electrons compensate the existing defect-induced holes and achieve up to 35.5% bandgap modulation in the light-doping regime. When probed by tunnelling spectroscopy, the local density of states in few-layer BP shows characteristic resonance features arising from layer-dependent sub-band structures due to quantum confinement effects. The demonstration of an electrical gate-controlled giant Stark effect in BP paves the way to designing electro-optic modulators and photodetector devices that can be operated in a wide electromagnetic spectral range.