Optical modulators with 2D layered materials

Zhipei Sun*, Amos Martinez, Feng Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewpeer-review


Light modulation is an essential operation in photonics and optoelectronics. With existing and emerging technologies increasingly demanding compact, efficient, fast and broadband optical modulators, high-performance light modulation solutions are becoming indispensable. The recent realization that 2D layered materials could modulate light with superior performance has prompted intense research and significant advances, paving the way for realistic applications. In this Review, we cover the state of the art of optical modulators based on 2D materials, including graphene, transition metal dichalcogenides and black phosphorus. We discuss recent advances employing hybrid structures, such as 2D heterostructures, plasmonic structures, and silicon and fibre integrated structures. We also take a look at the future perspectives and discuss the potential of yet relatively unexplored mechanisms, such as magneto-optic and acousto-optic modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-238
Number of pages12
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number4
Early online date31 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding: EU's 7FP (REA grant agreement No. 631610); Academy of Finland (No.:276376, 284548), TEKES (OPEC); Teknologiateollisuus TT-100; Nokia foundation; Aalto University; H2020 Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship scheme; United States National Science Foundation (EFMA-1542741).


  • mode-locked lasers
  • nonlinear optics
  • optical properties and devices
  • optoelectronic devices and components


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