We propose a theory of optical absorption in monolayer graphene–hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) heterostructures. In highly oriented heterostructures, the hBN underlay produces a long-range moire superlattice potential for the graphene electrons which modifies the selection rules for absorption of incoming photons in the infrared to visible frequency range. The details of the absorption spectrum modification depend on the relative strength of the various symmetry-allowed couplings between the graphene electrons and the hBN, and the resulting nature of the reconstructed band structure.
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