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On-chip coherent light sources based on nonlinear frequency conversion in thin organic two-dimensional crystals

Applicant Schlüter A. Dieter
Number 155659
Funding scheme precoR
Research institution Institut für Polymere ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Material Sciences
Start/End 01.08.2014 - 31.12.2017
Approved amount 400'000.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Material Sciences
Organic Chemistry

Keywords (3)

Two-dimensional materials; Non-linear optics; Photonic integration

Lay Summary (German)

Initiativen, wie die der Europäischen Forschungskommision zur Erforschung neuartiger Sensoren, veranschaulichen das Interesse an der Weiterentwicklung von optischen Bauelementen. Fortschritte bei der Herstellung neuartiger Materialen und in der Nanotechnologie zeigen, dass dieses Ziel erreicht werden kann.
Lay summary

Chip-basierte kohärente Lichtquellen durch nichtlineare Frequenzumwandlung in dünnen, organischen zwei-dimensionalen Kristallen 

Neuartige Materialien mit einzigartigen Eigenschaften sind der Schlüssel für eine neue Generation ultrakompakter Lichtquellen, Sensoren und Detektoren. Mit dem Wandel zum „Internet der Dinge“ ist das Interesse an neuartigen, optisch-responsiven Materialen stark gestiegen. Materialen mit steuerbaren Eigenschaften und/oder nichtlinear optischem Verhalten können hierbei eine wichtige Rolle spielen. Durch Bauelemente, die solche Materialen enthalten, könnte in Zukunft eine Fülle an Detektions- und Signalerzeugungs-Pfaden ermöglicht werden. 

Dieses Projekt hat die chip-basierte Signal-Erzeugung mithilfe von Frequenzverdoppelung, Differenzfrequenz- und Summenfrequenzerzeugung in neuartigen, dünnen, nichtlinearen, zwei-dimensionalen Kristallen zum Ziel.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.08.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Prof. Dieter Meschede, University of Bonn Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Oktay Aktas China (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Prof. Markus Raschke, University of Colorado at Boulder United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Prof. Manfred Bayer, University of Dortmund Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Dr. Claudia Backes, Universität Heidelberg Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Thomas Weber, ETH Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Gerhard Maier, Polymaterials AG, Kaufbeuren Germany (Europe)
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Nature Conference on Ferroic Materials: Challenges and Opportunities Talk given at a conference Novel manifestations of ferroic order — Revealed by nonlinear optics 25.10.2017 Xi'an, China Fiebig Manfred;
Advanced Photonics Congress 2017 Talk given at a conference Mid-IR Generation by Difference Frequency Generation in a Hybrid Plasmonic Waveguide 24.07.2017 New Orleans, LA, United States of America Heni Wolfgang;
Spring Meeting of the Condensed Matter Section of the German Physical Society 2016 Poster Nonlinear optical spectroscopy on 2D polymers 06.03.2016 Regensburg, Germany Fiebig Manfred; Kory Max;

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
149214 Synthesis of Monomolecular Sheets 01.01.2014 Project funding (Div. I-III)
154072 Synthetic Two-Dimensional Polymers 01.06.2014 Scientific Conferences


This project aims at the on-chip generation of signals by means of second harmonic generation, difference frequency generation and sum frequency generation employing a novel thin nonlinear polymer/monomer materials incorporated into a strong-confinement low-loss plasmonic waveguide structures. The new ultra-compact coherent light source holds promise to cover a broad range of frequencies spanning from the ultra-violet to the far infrared and will allow to access spectral regions which are not attainable with the currently available conventional lasers. The proposal although bold - is backed by preliminary tests performed by the three participating institutes.Novel materials with unique properties are key to a new generation of ultra-compact sources, sensors and detectors. In view of the “internet-of-things” interest on novel optically responsive materials has dramatically risen in the last few years. And indeed, the European commission is about to launch new research calls for novel sensing devices towards the end of the year and in upcoming calls. Materials with tunable characteristics and/or nonlinear optical (NLO) characteristics thereby might play an important role. It is by such devices that a wealth of detection and signal generation schemes might be enabled. In this context falls a new functional material that we have recently patented (GB1402646.2). It is a material that comprises of a pair of non-centrosymmetric single crystalline materials of a monomeric compound together with its two-dimensional polymeric counterpart. Both materials are highly robust in terms of handling under ambient conditions, can be obtained in high purity and switched between the two states, monomer and polymer, either by the action of UV light or thermal treatment. While these states represent the two extreme cases, their interconvertability provides facile access to a whole range of materials whose properties can be tuned between these two points at will. Both states show pronounced second harmonic generation (SHG) which offers the unique possibility to tune crystalline NLO material on a local scale. Furthermore, because of the mechanical coherence of the underlying two-dimensional polymer, this responsive material allows thin sheet packages to be exfoliated while fully maintaining the NLO properties. It is exactly this set of extraordinary features that provides a highly efficient nonlinear frequency conversion and ease of integration into photonic structures. Furthermore, the material also holds promise to allow us to address the phase-matching issue by simply flexibly tuning the structure from one state into another.To enhance the nonlinear effect and thus to increase the output signals, our organic materials will be incorporated into waveguide structures. We will thereby take advantage of a set of new waveguide structures. One of which for instance is a highly efficient nonlinear waveguide structure that was recently developed by a member of this team. Another structure is based on so-called long-range dielectric-loaded surface plasmon polariton (LR-DL SPP) waveguides that provide a strong confinement of the optical field to the nonlinear material layer but also provides relatively low propagation losses. Other waveguide configurations will be explored as well in the course of this project. Moreover we will add silicon nitride photonic waveguides. These are needed for coupling the pump beam from an external laser source to the plasmonic waveguide, where nonlinear frequency conversion takes place and also for coupling out the newly generated light. An advantage of the silicon nitride over pure silicon waveguides is the large bandgap of silicon nitride which not only ensures optical transparency at both visible and infrared wavelengths, but also allows overcoming other limitations of silicon photonics related to the two-photon absorption and free-carrier absorption.The newly fabricated ultra-compact coherent light sources might then be further co-integrated with other active as well as passive optical components. There is a great potential of applications with a need for optical sources including biosensing, imaging, spectroscopy and even high-speed chip-to-hip communications or data processing. There is an enormous application potential for the proposed research, which combines polymer chemistry, crystal engineering, photophysics with micro- and nanofabrication technology.