Abstract

Due to the manifestation of fascinating physical phenomena and materials science, two-dimensional (2D) materials have recently attracted enormous research interest with respect to the fields of electronics and optoelectronics. There have been in-depth investigations of the nonlinear properties with respect to saturable absorption, and many 2D materials show potential application in optical switches for passive pulsed lasers. However, the Eigen band-gap determines the responding wavelength band and constrains the applications. In this paper, based on band-gap engineering, some different types of 2D broadband saturable absorbers are reviewed in detail, including molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), vanadium dioxide (VO2), graphene, and the Bi2Se3 topological insulator. The results suggest that the band-gap modification should play important roles in 2D broadband saturable materials and can provide some inspiration for the exploration and design of 2D nanodevices.

© 2015 Chinese Laser Press

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2015 (1)

H. Yu, S. Wang, A. Wang, M. Zhao, H. Zhang, Y. Chen, L. Mei, and J. Wang, “Kinetics of nonlinear optical response at insulator-metal transition in vanadium dioxide,” Adv. Opt. Mater. 3, 64–70 (2015)

2014 (15)

H. Yu, J. Liu, H. Zhang, A. A. Kaminskii, Z. Wang, and J. Wang, “Advances in vanadate laser crystals at a lasing wavelength of 1 micrometer,” Laser Photon. Rev. 8, 847–864 (2014).

J. Du, Q. Wang, G. Jiang, C. Xu, C. Zhao, Y. Xiang, Y. Chen, S. Wen, and H. Zhang, “Ytterbium-doped fiber laser passively mode locked by few-layer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) saturable absorber functioned with evanescent field interaction,” Sci. Rep. 4, 6346 (2014).
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J. Qiao, X. Kong, Z. X. Hu, F. Yang, and W. Ji, “High-mobility transport anisotropy and linear dichroism in few-layer black phosphorus,” Nat. Commun. 5, 4475 (2014).

S. Wang, H. Yu, H. Zhang, A. Wang, M. Zhao, Y. Che, L. Mei, and J. Wang, “Broadband few-layer MoS2 saturable absorbers,” Adv. Mater. 26, 3538–3544 (2014).
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B. Wang, H. Yu, H. Zhang, C. Zhao, S. Wen, H. Zhang, and J. Wang, “Topological insulator simultaneously Q-switched dual-wavelength Nd:Lu2O3 laser,” IEEE J. Photon. 6, 1501007 (2014).

Z. Q. Luo, C. Liu, Y. Z. Huang, D. D. Wu, J. Y. Wu, H. Y. Xu, Z. P. Cai, Z. Q. Lin, L. P. Sun, and J. Weng, “Topological-insulator passively Q-switched double-clad fiber laser at 2  μm wavelength,” IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 20, 0902708 (2014).

H. Zhang, S. B. Lu, J. Zheng, J. Du, S. C. Wen, D. Y. Tang, and K. P. Loh, “Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) as a broadband saturable absorber for ultra-fast photonics,” Opt. Express 22, 7249–7260 (2014).
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H. Liu, A. Luo, F. Wang, R. Tang, M. Liu, Z. Luo, W. Xu, C. Zhao, and H. Zhang, “Femtosecond pulse erbium-doped fiber laser by a few-layer MoS2 saturable absorber,” Opt. Lett. 39, 4591–4594 (2014).
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M. Liu, X. W. Zheng, Y. L. Qi, H. Liu, A. Luo, Z. C. Luo, W. C. Xu, C. J. Zhao, and H. Zhang, “Microfiber-based few-layer MoS2 saturable absorber for 2.5  GHz passively harmonic mode-locked fiber laser,” Opt. Express 22, 22841–22846 (2014).
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R. Khazaeizhad, S. H. Kassani, H. Jeong, D. I. Yeom, and K. Oh, “Mode-locking of Er-doped fiber laser using a multilayer MoS2 thin film as a saturable absorber in both anomalous and normal dispersion regimes,” Opt. Express 22, 23732–23742 (2014).
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Y. Z. Huang, Z. Q. Y. Y. Luo, Y. Y. Li, M. Zhong, B. Xu, K. J. Che, H. Y. Xu, Z. P. Cai, J. Peng, and J. Weng, “Widely-tunable, passively Q-switched erbium-doped fiber laser with few-layer MoS2 saturable absorber,” Opt. Express 22, 25258–25266 (2014).
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2013 (22)

Y. Chen, C. Zhao, H. Huang, S. Chen, P. Tang, Z. Wang, S. Lu, H. Zhang, S. Wen, and D. Tang, “Self-assembled topological insulator: Bi2Se3 membrane as a passive Q-switcher in an erbium–doped fiber laser,” J. Lightwave Technol. 31, 2857–2863 (2013).
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P. Tang, X. Zhang, C. Zhao, Y. Wang, H. Zhang, D. Shen, S. Wen, D. Tang, and D. Fan, “Topological insulator: Bi2Te3 saturable absorber for the passive Q-switching operation of an in-band pumped 1645-nm Er:YAG ceramic laser,” IEEE J. Photon. 5, 1500707 (2013).

Y. Zhou, A. Huang, Y. Li, S. Ji, Y. Gao, and P. Jin, “Surface plasmon resonance induced excellent solar control for VO2@SiO2 nanorods-based thermochromic foils,” Nanoscale 5, 9208–9213 (2013).
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H. Yu, H. Zhang, Y. Wang, C. Zhao, B. Wang, S. Wen, H. Zhang, and J. Wang, “Topological insulator as an optical modulator for pulsed solid-state lasers,” Laser Photon. Rev. 7, L77–L83 (2013).

J. Jeong, N. Aetukuri, T. Graf, T. D. Schladt, M. G. Samant, and S. S. P. Parkin, “Suppression of metal–insulator transition in VO2 by electric field-induced oxygen vacancy formation,” Science 339, 1402–1405 (2013).
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2012 (13)

M. Nakano, K. Shibuya, D. Okuyama, T. Hatano, S. Ono, M. Kawasaki, Y. Iwasa, and Y. Tokura, “Collective bulk carrier delocalization driven by electrostatic surface charge accumulation,” Nature 487, 459–462 (2012).
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M. Liu, H. Y. Hwang, H. Tao, A. Strikwerda, K. Fan, G. R. Keiser, A. J. Sternbach, K. G. West, S. Kittiwatanakul, J. Lu, S. A. Wolf, F. G. Omenetto, X. Zhang, K. A. Nelson, and R. D. Averitt, “Terahertz-field-induced insulator-to-metal transition in vanadium dioxide metamaterial,” Nature 487, 345–348 (2012).
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Q. H. Wang, K. Kalantar-Zadeh, A. Kis, J. N. Coleman, and M. S. Strano, “Electronics and optoelectronics of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenides,” Nat. Nanotechnol. 7, 699–712 (2012).
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R. Wang, B. A. Ruzicka, N. Kumar, M. Z. Bellus, H. Y. Chiu, and H. Zhao, “Ultrafast and spatially resolved studies of charge carriers in atomically thin molybdenum disulfide,” Phys. Rev. B 86, 045406 (2012).

Q. H. Liu, L. Z. Y. F. Li, Z. X. Gao, Z. F. Chen, and J. Lu, “Tuning electronic structure of bilayer MoS2 by vertical electric field: A first-principles investigation,” J. Phys. Chem. C 116, 21556–21562 (2012).
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C. Zhao, H. Zhang, X. Qi, Y. Chen, Z. Wang, S. Wen, and D. Tang, “Ultra-short pulse generation by a topological insulator based saturable absorber,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 101, 211106 (2012).
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H. Zhang, S. Virally, Q. Bao, K. P. Loh, S. Massar, N. Godbout, and P. Kockaert, “Z-scan measurement of the nonlinear refractive index of graphene,” Opt. Lett. 37, 1856–1858 (2012).
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2011 (6)

H. Yu, X. Chen, X. Hu, S. Zhuang, Z. Wang, X. Xu, J. Wang, H. Zhang, and M. Jiang, “Graphene as a Q-switcher for neodymium-doped lutetium vanadate laser,” Appl. Phys. Express 4, 022704 (2011).
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Y. H. Liu, Z. D. Xie, S. D. Pan, X. J. Lv, Y. Yuan, X. P. Hu, J. Lu, L. N. Zhao, C. D. Chen, G. Zhao, and S. N. Zhu, “Diode-pumped passively mode-locked Nd:YVO4 laser at 1342  nm with periodically poled LiTaO3,” Opt. Lett. 36, 698–700 (2011).
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W. D. Tan, C. Y. Su, R. J. Knize, G. Q. Xie, L. J. Li, and D. Tang, “Mode locking of ceramic Nd:yttrium aluminum garnet with graphene as a saturable absorber,” Appl. Phys. Lett. 96, 031106 (2010).
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Figures (14)

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1. Brillouin zone (left) and calculated band structure (blue lines, right) of bulk MoS 2 with stoichiometric ratio. Selected from Ref. [34].
Fig. 2.
Fig. 2. Theoretical band gap of MoS 2 samples; (a) AB stacked MoS 2 observed from the top (left) and side (right); (b) calculated band structure of bulk MoS 2 with R = 1 2.12 ; (c) calculated band structure of bulk MoS 2 with R = 1 2.09 ; (d) calculated band structure of bulk MoS 2 with R = 1 2.04 ; (e) calculated band structure of bulk MoS 2 with R = 1 1.97 ; (f) calculated band structure of bulk MoS 2 with R = 1 1.94 ; (g) calculated band structure of bulk MoS 2 with R = 1 1.89 . Selected from Ref. [34].
Fig. 3.
Fig. 3. Measured absorption spectrum of MoS 2 sample. Selected from Ref. [34].
Fig. 4.
Fig. 4. Average output power and repetition rate of passively Q -switched laser; (a) passively Q -switched Nd : GdVO 4 laser performance at 1.06 μm; (b) passively Q -switched Nd:YGG laser performance at 1.42 μm; (c) passively Q -switched Tm:Ho:YGG laser performance at 2.1 μm; (d) relation between the carrier density ( N ) and pulse repetition rate at the laser wavelength of 1.42 μm. Selected from Ref. [34].
Fig. 5.
Fig. 5. Passively Q -switched laser spectra and pulses; (a) passively Q -switched Nd : GdVO 4 , Nd:YGG, and Tm:Ho:YGG laser spectra of at center wavelengths of 1.06, 1.42, and 2.1 μm, respectively; (b) passively Q -switched Nd : GdVO 4 , Nd:YGG, and Tm:Ho:YGG laser spectra with the pulse width of 970, 729, and 410 ns, respectively. Selected from Ref. [34].
Fig. 6.
Fig. 6. Theoretical DOS for VO 2 in different phases; (a) DOS in the monoclinic phase at room temperature with a band-gap of 0.68 eV; (b) DOS in the monoclinic phase near the IMT point with a band-gap of 0.36 eV; (c) DOS in the tetragonal phase near the IMT point; (d) DOS in the tetragonal phase and final metallic states. Selected from Ref. [90].
Fig. 7.
Fig. 7. Linear optical response of VO 2 layer; (a) reflection and transmission of VO 2 at different temperatures and light wavelength of 1.06 μm measured by increasing (↑) and decreasing (↓) the temperature; (b) linear absorption coefficient of VO 2 at different temperatures and light wavelength of 1.06 μm measured by increasing (↑) and decreasing (↓) the temperature. Selected from Ref. [90].
Fig. 8.
Fig. 8. Laser performance with VO 2 as an optical switch; (a) average output power and central temperature of the laser beam in VO 2 sample recorded during increasing (↑) and decreasing (↓) pump power. Inset: laser patterns achieved with CCD; (b) repetition rate and pulse width during increase (↑) and decrease (↓) of pump power; (c) peak power during increase (↑) and decrease (↓) of pump power; (d) modulation depth with increase (↑) and decrease (↓) of central temperature generated by the pump power. Selected from Ref. [90].
Fig. 9.
Fig. 9. Nonlinear optical response of VO 2 layer; (a) saturation intensity with increase (↑) and decrease (↓) of central temperature induced by pump power in the IMT process; (b) nonlinear absorption coefficient with increase (↑) and decrease (↓) of central temperature induced by pump power in the IMT process. Selected from Ref. [90].
Fig. 10.
Fig. 10. (a) Display of the cw laser recorded by a digital oscilloscope; (b)  Q -switched pulse profile under the pump power of 11.2 W; (c)  Q -switched pulse profile under the pump power of 12.9 W; (d)  Q -switched pulse profile under the pump power of 14.6 W; (e)  Q -switched pulse profile under the pump power of 16.5 W. Selected from Ref. [109].
Fig. 11.
Fig. 11. Pulse profile with the width of 56.2 ns. Selected from Ref. [110].
Fig. 12.
Fig. 12. (a) Continuous wave and pulsed output power of LG p , l modes versus the absorbed pump power; (b) transverse pattern of the laser beam. Top row, achieved LG p , l modes. Bottom row, the converted HG m , n modes corresponding the LG p , l modes. Selected from Ref. [111].
Fig. 13.
Fig. 13. (a) Average output power and pulse energy vs. increasing incident pump power; (b) pulse width and repetition rate vs. incident pump power; (c) display recorded by digital oscilloscope for lasers. One through 6 are pulse profiles of cw Nd : GdVO 4 laser, and pulsed lasers under pump power of 1.19, 1.27, 1.46, 1.67, and 1.85 W, respectively. Selected from Ref. [63].
Fig. 14.
Fig. 14. (a) Single-pulse profile with duration of 720 ns. Inset, corresponding pulse train with the repetition rate of 94.7 kHz; (b) laser spectrum of the dual-wavelength laser at 1077 and 1081 nm. Selected from Ref. [122].

Equations (5)

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α * = α S * 1 + N N S + α NS * ,
N = α * I τ ω ,
α * = α S * 1 + I I S + α NS * ,
T = A exp ( δ T 1 + I I S ) ,
Δ T = e α S ( ω ) l e α ( ω ) l = 3.52 T R τ

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