Multilayer Black Phosphorus as a Versatile Mid-Infrared Electro-optic Material

Charles Lin, Roberto Grassi, Tony Low, Amr S. Helmy

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155 Scopus citations


We investigate the electro-optic properties of black phosphorus (BP) thin films for optical modulation in the mid-infrared frequencies. Our calculation indicates that an applied out-of-plane electric field may lead to red-, blue-, or bidirectional shift in BP's absorption edge. This is due to the interplay between the field-induced quantum-confined Franz-Keldysh effect and the Pauli-blocked Burstein-Moss shift. The relative contribution of the two electro-absorption mechanisms depends on doping range, operating wavelength, and BP film thickness. For proof-of concept, simple modulator configuration with BP overlaid over a silicon nanowire is studied. Simulation results show that operating BP in the quantum-confined Franz-Keldysh regime can improve the maximal attainable absorption as well as power efficiency compared to its graphene counterpart.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1683-1689
Number of pages7
JournalNano letters
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 9 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Chemical Society.


  • Black phosphorus
  • Burstein Moss shift
  • electro-optics
  • mid-infrared
  • modulator
  • quantum-confined Franz-Keldysh effect


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