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Strain-engineered high-responsivity MoTe2 photodetector for silicon photonic integrated circuits


In integrated photonics, specific wavelengths such as 1,550 nm are preferred due to low-loss transmission and the availability of optical gain in this spectral region. For chip-based photodetectors, two-dimensional materials bear scientifically and technologically relevant properties such as electrostatic tunability and strong light–matter interactions. However, no efficient photodetector in the telecommunication C-band has been realized with two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenide materials due to their large optical bandgaps. Here we demonstrate a MoTe2-based photodetector featuring a strong photoresponse (responsivity 0.5 A W–1) operating at 1,550 nm in silicon photonics enabled by strain engineering the two-dimensional material. Non-planarized waveguide structures show a bandgap modulation of 0.2 eV, resulting in a large photoresponse in an otherwise photoinactive medium when unstrained. Unlike graphene-based photodetectors that rely on a gapless band structure, this photodetector shows an approximately 100-fold reduction in dark current, enabling an efficient noise-equivalent power of 90 pW Hz0.5. Such a strain-engineered integrated photodetector provides new opportunities for integrated optoelectronic systems.

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Fig. 1: MRR-integrated photodetector.
Fig. 2: Photoresponse of the Au/MoTe2/Au integrated on MRR.
Fig. 3: Mechanism of enhanced photocurrent.
Fig. 4: Dynamic performance.

Data availability

The data that support the plots within this paper and other findings of this study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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V.J.S. is supported by AFOSR (grant no. FA9550-17-1-0377) and ARO (grant no. W911NF-16-2-0194). M.A.S.R.S., B.U. and S.D.S. acknowledge support from the US Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under award no. DE-SC0018041. S.R.B. acknowledges support from NSF grant nos. DMR-1839175 and CCF-1838435. We acknowledge computational support from the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute (MSI).

Author information




R.M. and V.J.S. initiated the project and conceived the experiments. C.P. and T.X. fabricated the devices. R.M. and M.A.S.R.S. performed the measurements and data analysis. B.U., S.D.S., J.G.A., T.L., M.M. and R. Amin provided modelling and the theoretical analysis. A.F.B. and S.R.B. performed supporting experiments. D.V.T. provided planarized photonic chip. R.M and V.J.S. co-wrote the manuscript, and R. Agarwal provided suggestions throughout the project. All authors discussed and commented on the manuscript.

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Correspondence to V. J. Sorger.

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Supplementary Figs. 1–14, discussions and Table 1.

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Maiti, R., Patil, C., Saadi, M.A.S.R. et al. Strain-engineered high-responsivity MoTe2 photodetector for silicon photonic integrated circuits. Nat. Photonics 14, 578–584 (2020).

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