Two-dimensional materials with hexagonal symmetry such as graphene and transition metal dichalcogenides} are unique materials to study light-field-controlled electron dynamics inside of a solid. Around the $K$-point, the dispersion relation represents an ideal system to study intricately coupled intraband motion and interband (Landau-Zener) transitions driven by the optical field of phase-controlled few-cycle laser pulses. Based on the coupled nature of the intraband and interband processes, we have recently observed in graphene repeated coherent Landau-Zener transitions between valence and conduction band separated by around half an optical period of ~1.3 fs [Higuchi et al., Nature 550, 224 (2017)]. Due to the low temporal symmetry of the applied laser pulse, a residual current density and a net electron polarization are formed. Here we show extended numerical data on the temporal evolution of the conduction band population of 2D materials with hexagonal symmetry during the light-matter interaction, yielding deep insights to attosecond-fast electron dynamics. In addition, we show that a residual ballistic current density is formed, which strongly increases when a band gap is introduced. Both, the sub-cycle electron dynamics and the resulting residual current are relevant for the fundamental understanding and future applications of strongly driven electrons in two-dimensional materials, including graphene or transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers.

Published : "arXiv Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics".