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LET IT GROW!

A high technical challenge so far has been the application of so-called 2D materials - i.e. single layer atomic layers - on substrates or waveguides.
These ultra-thin layers usually had to be produced separately and then transferred to the waveguide manually. Together with Australian researchers and colleagues from Jena, our researchers around Falk Eilenberger have succeeded for the first time in growing 2D materials directly on optical fibres. This significantly simplifies the production of such hybrid nanomaterials.
"This means that the 2D material can be applied with less effort and over a much larger area. In addition, we were able to prove that the light in the glass fibre interacts with its coating," explains Dr. Falk Eilenberger. The step to practical application is no longer very far for the intelligent nanomaterial thus created.
But let's stay briefly on the technological side:
For example, the transition metal dichalcogenide - a 2D material with excellent optical and photonic properties, which for example interacts very strongly with light - was integrated into specially developed glass fibres by growing directly on the fibre.
The growth process was developed at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Jena (Prof. Dr. Andrey Turchanin) by analysing and controlling all growth parameters. Among other things, a temperature of around 700 degrees Celsius is required, which is why the fibres are particularly well suited as carriers: "The pure quartz glass, which serves as a substrate, can withstand the high temperatures excellently. It is heat-resistant up to 2,000 degrees Celsius," says Prof. Dr. Markus A. Schmidt from the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies, who developed the fibre. "Its small diameter and flexibility turn it into a flexible usable optical fibre".
The combination of 2D material and glass fibre has thus created a material platform that brings together the best of two worlds: By functionalising the glass fibre with the 2D material, the interaction length between light and material is significantly increased.
The research team has already identified two possible areas of application: in sensor technology, for example, it could be used to measure gas concentrations. Due to their small size, even applications in biotechnology or medicine would be feasible. Secondly, such a system could also be used as a non-linear light converter. Due to its non-linear properties, such an optical fibre can be used to convert a laser into white light and then be used in spectroscopic investigation methods in biology or chemistry. Further areas of application are also imaginable in the field of quantum electronics and quantum communication.
The research results were developed within the framework of the interdisciplinary cooperation between the Thuringian research group "2D-Sens" and the Collaborative Research Centre "Nonlinear Optics down to Atomic Scales (NOA)" and have already been applied for a patent.

Original publication:
G. Quyet Ngo , A. George, R. T. K. Schock, A. Tuniz, E. Najafidehaghani, Z. Gan, N. C. Geib, T. Bucher, H. Knopf, S. Saravi, Chr. Neumann, T. Lühder, E. P. Schartner, S. C. Warren-Smith, H. Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Th. Pertsch, Markus A. Schmidt, A. Turchanin, F. Eilenberger (2020): Scalable functionalization of optical fibers using atomically thin semiconductors, Advanced Materials, https://doi.org/10.1002/adma.202003826



 

News from: 27.10.2020 08:00
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