Surfactant-aided exfoliation of molybdenum disulfide for ultrafast pulse generation through edge-state saturable absorption

Richard C. T. Howe*, Robert I. Woodward, Guohua Hu, Zongyin Yang, Edmund J. R. Kelleher, Tawfique Hasan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We use liquid phase exfoliation to produce dispersions of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanoflakes in aqueous surfactant solutions. The chemical structures of the bile salt surfactants play a crucial role in the exfoliation and stabilization of MoS2. The resultant MoS2 dispersions are heavily enriched in single and few (<6) layer flakes with large edge to surface area ratio. We use the dispersions to fabricate free-standing polymer composite wide-band saturable absorbers to develop mode-locked and Q-switched fiber lasers, tunable from 1535 to 1565 and 1030 to 1070 nm, respectively. We attribute this sub-bandgap optical absorption and its nonlinear saturation behavior to edge-mediated states introduced within the material band-gap of the exfoliated MoS2 nanoflakes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)911-917
Number of pages7
JournalPhysica Status Solidi B: Basic Solid State Physics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • liquid phase exfoliation
  • MoS₂
  • saturable absorption
  • ultrafast laser

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