A MoTe2-based light-emitting diode and photodetector for silicon photonic integrated circuits


One of the current challenges in photonics is developing high-speed, power-efficient, chip-integrated optical communications devices to address the interconnects bottleneck in high-speed computing systems1. Silicon photonics has emerged as a leading architecture, in part because of the promise that many components, such as waveguides, couplers, interferometers and modulators2, could be directly integrated on silicon-based processors. However, light sources and photodetectors present ongoing challenges3,4. Common approaches for light sources include one or few off-chip or wafer-bonded lasers based on III–V materials, but recent system architecture studies show advantages for the use of many directly modulated light sources positioned at the transmitter location5. The most advanced photodetectors in the silicon photonic process are based on germanium, but this requires additional germanium growth, which increases the system cost6. The emerging two-dimensional transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) offer a path for optical interconnect components that can be integrated with silicon photonics and complementary metal-oxide-semiconductors (CMOS) processing by back-end-of-the-line steps7,8,9. Here, we demonstrate a silicon waveguide-integrated light source and photodetector based on a p–n junction of bilayer MoTe2, a TMD semiconductor with an infrared bandgap10. This state-of-the-art fabrication technology provides new opportunities for integrated optoelectronic systems.

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Figure 1: Design of the waveguide-integrated LED and photodetector.
Figure 2: Gate-controlled bilayer MoTe2 p–n junction electrical properties at room temperature.
Figure 3: Optical properties of the bilayer MoTe2-silicon waveguide coupled device.
Figure 4: Photocurrent response of a bilayer MoTe2 NP junction integrated into the silicon waveguide at room temperature.


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The authors acknowledge helpful discussions with R.J. Shiue, H. Churchill, Q. Ma, Y. Lin and E. Sie and measurement help from J. Carr and M. Bawendi. This work was primarily supported by the Center for Excitonics, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), Office of Science, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, under award no. DESC0001088 (Y.Q.B., G.G., D.K.E., M.M.F., E.N.-M., J.K., D.E. and P.J.-H.). Experimental measurements were partially supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under award DMR-1405221 (Y.C.). This work made use of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Shared Experimental Facilities supported by the National Science Foundation (DMR-0819762) and Harvard's Center for Nanoscale Systems, supported by the NSF (ECS-0335765). G.G. acknowledges support by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). M.H. acknowledges support from the Danish Council for Independent Research (DFF: 1325-0014). M.M.F. acknowledges financial funding by the Austrian Science Fund (START Y-539). J.Z. acknowledges partial support from the Office of Naval Research (N00014-13-1-0316). This research used resources of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, which is a US DOE Office of Science User Facility, at Brookhaven National Laboratory, under contract no. DE-SC0012704. K.W. and T.T. acknowledge support from the Elemental Strategy Initiative conducted by the MEXT, Japan, and JSPS KAKENHI grant nos. JP15K21722 and JP25106006.

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Y.Q.B., D.E. and P.J.-H. conceived the experiment. Y.Q.B., J.Z., E.N.-M. and L.Z. fabricated the samples. Y.Q.B., G.G., M.M.F., Y.C. and D.B. performed the measurements. M.H. simulated the photonic crystal waveguide. L.Z. and D.K.E. participated in early discussions and experiments. T.T. and K.W. grew the crystals of hexagonal boron nitride. J.K., D.E. and P.J.-H. advised on the experiments and data analysis. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Ya-Qing Bie or Pablo Jarillo-Herrero.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Bie, Y., Grosso, G., Heuck, M. et al. A MoTe2-based light-emitting diode and photodetector for silicon photonic integrated circuits. Nature Nanotech 12, 1124–1129 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2017.209

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