Giant optical anisotropy in transition metal dichalcogenides for next-generation photonics

G A Ermolaev, D V Grudinin, Yury Stebunov, K V Voronin, Vasyl Kravets, J Duan, A B Mazitov, G I Tselikov, A Bylinkin, D I Yakubovsky, S M Novikov, D G Baranov, A Y Nikitin, I A Kruglov, T Shegai, P Alonso-Gonzalez, Alexander Grigorenko, A V Arensin, Konstantin Novoselov, V S Volkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Large optical anisotropy observed in a broad spectral range is of paramount importance for efficient light manipulation in countless devices. Although a giant anisotropy has been recently observed in the mid-infrared wavelength range, for visible and near-infrared spectral intervals, the problem remains acute with the highest reported birefringence values of 0.8 in BaTiS3 and h-BN crystals. This issue inspired an intensive search for giant optical anisotropy among natural and artificial materials. Here, we demonstrate that layered transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDCs) provide an answer to this quest owing to their fundamental differences between intralayer strong covalent bonding and weak interlayer van der Walls interaction. To do this, we made correlative far- and near-field characterizations validated by first-principle calculations that reveal a huge birefringence of 1.5 in the infrared and 3 in the visible light for MoS2. Our findings demonstrate that this remarkable anisotropy allows for tackling the diffraction limit enabling an avenue for on-chip next-generation photonics.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 5 Jan 2021


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