Strongly Confined Excitons in GaN/AlN Nanostructures with Atomically Thin GaN Layers for Efficient Light Emission in Deep-Ultraviolet
Fascinating optical properties governed by extremely confined excitons have been so far observed in 2D crystals like monolayers of transition metal dichalcogenides. These materials, however, are limited for production by epitaxial methods. Besides, they are not suitable for the development of optoelectronics for the challenging deep-ultraviolet spectral range. Here, we present a single monolayer of GaN in AlN as a heterostructure fabricated by molecular beam epitaxy, which provides extreme 2D confinement of excitons, being ideally suited for light generation in the deep-ultraviolet. Optical studies in the samples, supplemented by a group-theory analysis and first-principle calculations, make evident a giant enhancement of the splitting between the dark and bright excitons due to short-range electron–hole exchange interaction that is a fingerprint of the strongly confined excitons. The practical significance of our results is in the observation of the internal quantum yield of the room-temperature excitonic emission as high as ∼75% at 235 nm.