Optical fibres with embedded two-dimensional materials for ultrahigh nonlinearity


Nonlinear optical fibres have been employed for a vast number of applications, including optical frequency conversion, ultrafast laser and optical communication1,2,3,4. In current manufacturing technologies, nonlinearity is realized by the injection of nonlinear materials into fibres5,6,7 or the fabrication of microstructured fibres8,9,10. Both strategies, however, suffer from either low optical nonlinearity or poor design flexibility. Here, we report the direct growth of MoS2, a highly nonlinear two-dimensional material11, onto the internal walls of a SiO2 optical fibre. This growth is realized via a two-step chemical vapour deposition method, where a solid precursor is pre-deposited to guarantee a homogeneous feedstock before achieving uniform two-dimensional material growth along the entire fibre walls. By using the as-fabricated 25-cm-long fibre, both second- and third-harmonic generation could be enhanced by ~300 times compared with monolayer MoS2/silica. Propagation losses remain at ~0.1 dB cm–1 for a wide frequency range. In addition, we demonstrate an all-fibre mode-locked laser (~6 mW output, ~500 fs pulse width and ~41 MHz repetition rate) by integrating the two-dimensional-material-embedded optical fibre as a saturable absorber. Initial tests show that our fabrication strategy is amenable to other transition metal dichalcogenides, making these embedded fibres versatile for several all-fibre nonlinear optics and optoelectronics applications.

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Fig. 1: Two-step growth of a high-quality, uniform, monolayer MoS2-embedded optical fibre.
Fig. 2: Two-dimensional-material-embedded optical fibres with diverse fibre structures and material species.
Fig. 3: Greatly enhanced harmonic generation in MoS2-embedded HCF.
Fig. 4: Ultrafast laser based on MoS2-embedded PCF.

Data availability

The authors declare that the data supporting the findings of this study are available within the paper, Supplementary Information and Source Data. Extra data are available from the corresponding authors upon request. Source data are provided with this paper.


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51991340, 51991342, 51991344 and 51421002); National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFA0300903 and 2016YFA0300804); Beijing Natural Science Foundation (JQ19004); Beijing Excellent Talents Training Support (2017000026833ZK11); Beijing Graphene Innovation Program (Z181100004818003); Beijing Municipal Science & Technology Commission (Z191100007219005); the Key R&D Program of Guangdong Province (2019B010931001, 2020B010189001, 2018B010109009 and 2018B030327001); Guangdong Innovative and Entrepreneurial Research Team Program (2016ZT06D348); Bureau of Industry and Information Technology of Shenzhen (graphene platform 201901161512); the Science, Technology and Innovation Commission of Shenzhen Municipality (KYTDPT20181011104202253); Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (ZDYZ2015-1 and XDB33030200); National Postdoctoral Program for Innovative Talents (BX20180013 and BX20190016); the Academy of Finland; the ERC (834742); the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (820423, S2QUIP); and China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2019M660001, 2019M660280 and 2019M660281). We acknowledge the Electron Microscopy Laboratory in Peking University for the use of their electron microscope.

Author information




Z.L., X.B. and K.L. conceived the experiments and supervised the project. Y.G.Z. and C.L. contributed to the growth experiments. W.Y. performed the optical experiments and fibre laser setup. X.C. contributed to the theoretical modelling. R.Q., P.G. and X.B. conducted the STEM experiments. J.L., X.Z., J.W., M.W. and Y.Z. conducted the SEM, PL and Raman characterizations. S.W. and Z.S. suggested the optical experiments. All the authors discussed the results and wrote the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Kaihui Liu or Xuedong Bai or Zhongfan Liu.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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Peer review information Nature Nanotechnology thanks Baohua Jia, Zhiyi Wei and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–14, Tables 1 and 2, Notes 1–3 and refs. 1–22.

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Zuo, Y., Yu, W., Liu, C. et al. Optical fibres with embedded two-dimensional materials for ultrahigh nonlinearity. Nat. Nanotechnol. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41565-020-0770-x

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