Nanoscale chiral valley-photon interface through optical spin-orbit coupling

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Science  26 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 443-447
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan8010

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Nanoscale chiral valley-photon interface

Occupation of different valleys within the band structure of some materials can be used to encode information. That information is typically encoded in terms of the chirality or polarization of emitted photons. Gong et al. combined a plasmonic silver nanowire with a flake of the transition metal dichalcogenide WS2 to form a nanophotonic platform for the transfer of solid-state spin into optical information over mesoscopic distances. The direction of light emission from the nanowire was strongly dependent on the spin-orbit coupling of light and the WS2 layer. Such a highly efficient interface should prove useful for developing valleytronics into a practical on-chip technology.

Science, this issue p. 443


The emergence of two-dimensional transition metal dichalcogenide materials has sparked intense activity in valleytronics, as their valley information can be encoded and detected with the spin angular momentum of light. We demonstrate the valley-dependent directional coupling of light using a plasmonic nanowire–tungsten disulfide (WS2) layers system. We show that the valley pseudospin in WS2 couples to transverse optical spin of the same handedness with a directional coupling efficiency of 90 ± 1%. Our results provide a platform for controlling, detecting, and processing valley and spin information with precise optical control at the nanoscale.

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