“At the Speed of Light” – New ‘Nanowires’ Support Integrated Nanophotonic Circuits

Nanowires 149_thumbnail_100A new combination of materials can efficiently guide electricity and light along the same tiny wire, a finding that could be a step towards building computer chips capable of transporting digital information at the speed of light.


The continually increasing demands for higher-speed and lower-operating-power devices have resulted in the continued impetus to shrink photonic components. We demonstrate a primitive nanophotonic integrated circuit element composed of a single silver nanowire and single-layer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2 ) flake.

Using scanning confocal fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, we find that nanowire plasmons can excite MoS2 photoluminescence and that MoS2 excitons can decay into nanowire plasmons. Finally, we show that the nanowire may serve the dual purpose of both exciting MoS2 photoluminescence via plasmons and recollecting the decaying exciton as nanowire plasmons. The potential for subwavelength light guiding and strong nanoscale light–matter interaction afforded by our device may facilitate compact and efficient on-chip optical processing.

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© 2014 Optical Society of America

Funding By: Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS)10.13039/100000086 (DMR-1309734); Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy10.13039/100006132 (DE-FG02-05ER46207); NSF IGERT (DGE-0966089); Institute of Optics.

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