Imaging propagative exciton polaritons in atomically thin WSe2 waveguides

F. Hu, Y. Luan, J. Speltz, D. Zhong, C. H. Liu, J. Yan, D. G. Mandrus, X. Xu and Z. Fei

Phys. Rev. B 100, 121301(R) (2019)
The exciton polariton (EP) is a half-light and half-matter quasiparticle that is promising for exploring both fundamental quantum phenomena as well as photonic applications. Van der Waals materials, such as transition-metal dichalcogenide (TMD), emerge as a promising nanophotonics platform due to its support of long propagative EPs even at room temperature. However, real-space studies have been limited to bulk crystal waveguides with a thickness no less than 60 nm. Here we report the nano-optical imaging of the transverse-electric EPs in WSe2 nanoflakes down to a few atomic layers, which can be turned on and off by tuning the polarization state of the excitation laser. Unlike previously studied transverse-magnetic modes that exist only in bulk TMD waveguides, we found that the transverse-electric EPs could reside in ultrathin WSe2 samples, owing to the alignment of the electric field with the in-plane dipole orientation of two-dimensional excitons. Furthermore, we show that the EP wavelength and propagation length can be largely controlled by varying laser energy and sample thickness. These findings open opportunities to realize near-infrared polaritonic devices and circuits truly at the atomically thin limit.