Extraordinarily strong nonlinear optical graphene-like material could renovate nonlinear photonics

October 25, 2017, Aalto University
Extraordinarily strong nonlinear optical graphene-like material could renovate nonlinear photonics
Doctoral student Anton Autere studies nonlinearities of 2D materials using a new multiphoton microscope in the Micronova Research Center, Aalto University. Credit: Aalto University

Nonlinear optics is a key enabling technology of our modern society, such as in imaging and high-speed data communication. But the traditional devices suffer from relatively small nonlinear optical coefficients of conventional optical materials. An interdisciplinary team of scientists from Aalto University, University of Eastern Finland, University of Arizona, Cambridge University, University of Ottawa, Italian Institute of Technology, and National University of Singapore, discovered that monolayer molybdenum disulfide, a unique two-dimensional (2-D) layered material similar to graphene, has an extremely large nonlinear optical response, which can efficiently convert low-energy photons into coherent high-energy photons.

"This unusual property can be used for highly miniaturized on-chip photonic devices, such as high-resolution imaging and efficient optical data switching applications," tells Prof. Zhipei Sun from Aalto University, Finland.

The researchers also observed that the nonlinear multiphoton processes of this material are very sensitive to the number of layers and crystal orientation. The researchers demonstrated that these nonlinear optical processes could also be exploited for rapid and reliable characterization of similar atomically thin materials. This is of great interest in the research and industry.

"Our demonstrated multiphoton approach is a few orders of magnitude faster than the conventional optical microscopy methods. This clearly shows its potential for industrial high-volume and large-size material and device characterization for next generation electronics and photonics," says Prof. Harri Lipsanen from Aalto University.

Interestingly, the international team also found that the high-order nonlinear optical processes are stronger than the low-order ones. This is contrary to intuition, and is quite surprising, since the intensity of non-linear processes usually decreases with the order in the textbook. Prof. Nasser Peyghambarian, the Finland Distinguished Professor from College of Optical Sciences at the University of Arizona, USA, highlights:

"Such a unique is not only interesting for fundamental physics, but also very noteworthy for practical applications, such as, microscopy, therapy, and data switching."

Credit: Aalto University

Explore further: Upconversion fluorescence in metal organic frameworks

More information: Lasse Karvonen et al. Rapid visualization of grain boundaries in monolayer MoS2 by multiphoton microscopy, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15714

Antti Säynätjoki et al. Ultra-strong nonlinear optical processes and trigonal warping in MoS2 layers, Nature Communications (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00749-4

Related Stories

Ultrasensitive nonlinear metamaterials for data transfer

June 24, 2016

Scientists have demonstrated the effect of all-optical switching between streams of photons, born during the third harmonic generation process, using non-linear metamaterials. Researchers at Lomonosov Moscow State University ...

Recommended for you

Trembling aspen leaves could save future Mars rovers

March 18, 2019

Researchers at the University of Warwick have been inspired by the unique movement of trembling aspen leaves, to devise an energy harvesting mechanism that could power weather sensors in hostile environments and could even ...

Quantum sensing method measures minuscule magnetic fields

March 15, 2019

A new way of measuring atomic-scale magnetic fields with great precision, not only up and down but sideways as well, has been developed by researchers at MIT. The new tool could be useful in applications as diverse as mapping ...

Researchers report new light-activated micro pump

March 11, 2019

Even the smallest mechanical pumps have limitations, from the complex microfabrication techniques required to make them to the fact that there are limits on how small they can be. Researchers have announced a potential solution—a ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.