Nanotubes (NTs) of transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), such as MoS2 and WS2, were first synthesized more than a quarter of a century ago; nevertheless, many of their properties have so far remained basically unknown. This review presents the state of the art in the knowledge of the optical properties of TMD NTs. We first evaluate general properties of multilayered TMD crystals, and analyze available data on electronic band structure and optical properties of related NTs. Then, the technology for the formation and the structural characteristics of TMD NTs are represented, focusing on the structures synthesized by chemical transport reaction. The core of this work is the presentation of the ability of TMD NTs to emit bright photoluminescence (PL), which has been discovered recently. By means of micro-PL spectroscopy of individual tubes we show that excitonic transitions relevant to both direct and indirect band gaps contribute to the emission spectra of the NTs despite the presence of dozens of monolayers in their walls. We highlight the performance of the tubes as efficient optical resonators, whose confined optical modes strongly affect the emission bands. Finally, a brief conclusion is presented, along with an outlook of the future studies of this novel member of the family of radiative NTs, which have unique potential for different nanophotonics applications.
Published in: "arXiv Material Science".