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Abstract

The thesis describes the computational study of structural, electonic and transport properties of monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) in the stable 2H and the metastable 1T' phases. Several aspects have been covered by the study including the electronic properties of the topological quantum spin Hall (QSH) state in the 1T' monolayer phase as well as the effects of strain, periodic line defects, interfaces and edges of monolayer TMDs. The electronic properties of the bulk monolayer phases were described by the ab-initio density functional theory framework while the electronic and transport properties of 1D defects were calculated using the non-equilibrium Green's function formalism. A specific focus was made on the transport of spin-polarized charge carriers across line defects in the monolayer 2H phase. Subject to energy, pseudomomentum and spin conservation, the size of the transport gap is governed by both bulk properties of a material and symmetries of a line defect. Outside the transport gap energy region, the charge carriers are discriminated with respect to their spin resulting in the spin polarization of the transmitted current. Next, the properties of the metastable monolayer 1T' phase were studied. The presence of a sufficiently large band gap is crucial to observe the QSH phase in the family of materials by probing the topological boundary states. The meV-order band gaps of the 1T' phase of monolayer TMDs were found to be sensitive to materials' lattice constants suggesting the control of the band gap size by strain. In particular, the electronic band structure and the size of the band gap in monolayer 1T'-WSe2 were found to be in agreement with spectroscopy studies. The topologically protected states at the edges of the monolayer 1T' phase as well as at the boundaries between the topological 1T' phase and the trivial 2H phase of monolayer TMDs were studied. Specific atomic structure configurations were suggested to observe experimentally the topological protection of the charge carrier transport against back-scattering. Finally, in the context of lateral semiconducting device engineering, the electronic and transverse transport properties of 2H-1T' phase boundaries as well as the dimerization defects in the 1T' phase were investigated. Both kinds of defects considered exhibit a relatively large transmission probability for the charge carriers crossing the defects. However, the differences between the shapes of bulk bands of the two phases open a sizeable transport gap for charge carriers crossing periodic domain boundaries between the monolayer 2H and 1T' phases. The calculated formation energies of dimerization defects were found to be relatively low suggesting their high concentration in real samples of monolayer 1T'-TMDs. Additionally, the thesis includes studies of magnetic dopants on the surface of Bi2Te3 and atomic vacancies in monolayer 2H-MoSe2 where the electronic properties of point defects were calculated and compared to experimental results. The two possible adsorption sites of Fe on the surface of Bi2Te3 both show a large out-of-plane magnetic anisotropy in agreement with experiments. The calculated local electronic properties of Se vacancies in monolayer 2H-MoSe2 show the presence of in-gap states which are not observed in experiment. Nevertheless, the combination of theoretical and experimental scanning tunneling microscopy images allowed the unambiguous identification of the vacancy defect.

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