van der Waals Materials for Overcoming Fundamental Limitations in Photonic Integrated Circuitry

Andrey A. Vyshnevyy, Georgy A. Ermolaev, Dmitriy V. Grudinin, Kirill V. Voronin, Ivan Kharichkin, Arslan Mazitov, Ivan A. Kruglov, Dmitry I. Yakubovsky, Prabhash Mishra, Roman V. Kirtaev, Aleksey V. Arsenin, Kostya S. Novoselov, Luis Martin-Moreno and Valentyn S. Volkov

Nano Letters 23, 8057 (2023)

With the advance of on-chip nanophotonics, there is a high demand for high-refractive-index and low-loss materials. Currently, this technology is dominated by silicon, but van der Waals (vdW) materials with a high refractive index can offer a very advanced alternative. Still, up to now, it was not clear if the optical anisotropy perpendicular to the layers might be a hindering factor for the development of vdW nanophotonics. Here, we studied WS2-based waveguides in terms of their optical properties and, particularly, in terms of possible crosstalk distance. Surprisingly, we discovered that the low refractive index in the direction perpendicular to the atomic layers improves the characteristics of such devices, mainly due to expanding the range of parameters at which single-mode propagation can be achieved. Thus, using anisotropic materials offers new opportunities and novel control knobs when designing nanophotonic devices.