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Breakthrough in the optical properties of MXenes - two-dimensional heterostructures provide new ideas

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image: | OA Z-scan results of Nb2C/MoS2 and Nb2C with an excitation wavelength of (a) 1300 nm and (b) 1550 nm. The corresponding nonlinear transmittance curves under excitation optical intensity are shown in (c) and (d). (e) Fitted nonlinear optics parameter for comparison . view more 

Credit: OEA

A new publication from Opto-Electronic Advances, 10.29026/oea.2023.220162 discusses a breakthrough in the optical properties of MXenes.


Two-dimensional layered materials are a novel class of materials that exhibit strong and distinctive light-matter interactions, offering broad application prospects in optoelectronic devices and photonic elements. These materials encompass graphene, transition metal sulfides (TMDs), black phosphorus (BP), and others, which demonstrate exceptional performance characteristics such as ultrafast and wide-spectrum response, robust excitonic optical properties, and tunable direct optical band gaps.


MXenes represent a newly discovered class of two-dimensional layered materials, which showcase fascinating and tunable optical, chemical, and electronic properties, and exhibit diverse applications in fields such as photoelectricity, photothermal conversion, and photovoltaics. Furthermore, MXenes demonstrate strong nonlinear optical responses, and their nonlinear optical absorption can be adjusted by thickness, excitation wavelength, and surface groups.


In addition, the construction of two-dimensional heterostructures represents an important strategy for enhancing the optoelectronic performance of devices that utilize two-dimensional materials. By employing careful design, the advantageous properties of each component within the heterostructure can be preserved, while novel characteristics such as charge transfer or energy transfer can be generated via the interfacial effects.


The authors of this article propose a simple and effective method for preparing Nb2C/MoS2 heterostructures with enhanced both linear and nonlinear optical properties.


In this work, MoS2 nanocrystals were successfully grown on the surface of Nb2C nanosheets in situ, resulting in the construction of a two-dimensional Nb2C/MoS2 heterostructure. It was found that this heterostructure outperformed pure Nb2C in both linear and nonlinear optics.


The study reveals that the surface group of Nb2C can modulate the work function of Nb2C/MoS2, which affects the charge transfer and energy alignment between Nb2C and MoS2. As a result, Nb2C/MoS2 inherits the advantages of Nb2C and MoS2 at different wavelengths and exhibits enhanced broadband optical absorption characteristics.


Furthermore, the research demonstrates that hole transfer from Nb2C to MoS2 leads to modulation of the nonlinear optical response in the heterostructure. It also proves that Nb2C/MoS2 has stronger and tunable near-infrared nonlinear optical absorption characteristics than pure Nb2C. The nonlinear absorption coefficient of Nb2C/MoS2 is more than twice that of pure Nb2C, as illustrated in Figure 1. This study presents an effective approach for the development of broadband optoelectronic devices and optical modulators. In particular, the findings provide a strong basis for the utilization of MXenes, which exhibit excellent photoelectric performance, in the field of optoelectronics.


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This work was completed by the team of Hunan Key Laboratory of Nanophotonics and Devices at Central South University, led by Prof. Jun He. The team has cultivated 5 national-level young talents and 12 provincial-level talents, and independently built a photoelectron spectroscopy measurement system with femtosecond time resolution, three-dimensional spin resolution, and energy-momentum resolution.

Prof. Jun He obtained his Ph.D. from the National University of Singapore in 2006. In recognition of his achievements, he was awarded the National Outstanding Youth Science Foundation in 2012 and was selected as a Furong Scholar Distinguished Professor of Hunan Province in 2016. Currently, he focuses his research on the ultrafast phenomena and nonlinear optics of nanoscale materials, as well as the femtosecond laser fabrication of micro-nano structures and two-dimensional material neuromorphic transistor. His extensive work in this area has resulted in the publication of over 240 papers in renowned international journals such as Nature Commun. and Phys. Rev. Lett., with over 6,700 citations.

Dr. Yingwei Wang obtained his Ph.D. from Central South University in 2017. He subsequently completed postdoctoral fellow training at Shenzhen University, Jinan University, and Korea University. Currently, he serves as a lecturer in the School of Physics and Electronics at Central South University, where he focuses his research on the Nanophotonics of low-dimensional materials. In recognition of his contributions to the field, he was awarded the Outstanding Youth Science Foundation of Hunan Province in 2022.

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Opto-Electronic Advances (OEA) is a high-impact, open access, peer reviewed monthly SCI journal with an impact factor of 8.933 (Journal Citation Reports for IF2021). Since its launch in March 2018, OEA has been indexed in SCI, EI, DOAJ, Scopus, CA and ICI databases over the time and expanded its Editorial Board to 36 members from 17 countries and regions (average h-index 49).

The journal is published by The Institute of Optics and Electronics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, aiming at providing a platform for researchers, academicians, professionals, practitioners, and students to impart and share knowledge in the form of high quality empirical and theoretical research papers covering the topics of optics, photonics and optoelectronics.

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Wang YD, Wang YW, Dong YL, Zhou L, Kang JL et al. 2D Nb2CTx MXene/MoS2 heterostructure construction for nonlinear optical absorption modulation. Opto-Electron Adv 6, 220162 (2023). doi: 10.29026/oea.2023.220162 

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