Atomically thin optical lenses and gratings

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Journal Article
Light: Science and Applications, 2016, 5
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© 2016 CIOMP. All rights reserved. Two-dimensional (2D) materials have emerged as promising candidates for miniaturized optoelectronic devices due to their strong inelastic interactions with light. On the other hand, a miniaturized optical system also requires strong elastic light-matter interactions to control the flow of light. Here we report that a single-layer molybdenum disulfide (MoS 2 ) has a giant optical path length (OPL), around one order of magnitude larger than that from a single-layer of graphene. Using such giant OPL to engineer the phase front of optical beams we have demonstrated, to the best of our knowledge, the world's thinnest optical lens consisting of a few layers of MoS 2 less than 6.3 nm thick. By taking advantage of the giant elastic scattering efficiency in ultra-thin high-index 2D materials, we also demonstrated high-efficiency gratings based on a single- or few-layers of MoS 2 . The capability of manipulating the flow of light in 2D materials opens an exciting avenue towards unprecedented miniaturization of optical components and the integration of advanced optical functionalities. More importantly, the unique and large tunability of the refractive index by electric field in layered MoS 2 will enable various applications in electrically tunable atomically thin optical components, such as micro-lenses with electrically tunable focal lengths, electrical tunable phase shifters with ultra-high accuracy, which cannot be realized by conventional bulk solids.
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