Mechanistic Understanding of Excitation-Correlated Nonlinear Optical Properties in MoS2Nanosheets and Nanodots: The Role of Exciton Resonance

Jianhui Sun, Yan Juan Gu, Dangyuan Lei, Shu Ping Lau, Wing Tak Wong, Kwok Yin Wong, Helen Lai Wai Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Low-dimensional molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) materials such as nanosheets and nanodots exhibit exotic optical, electronic, and catalytic properties, but so far the limited understanding of their nonlinear optical properties has restricted their potential use in nonlinear optoelectronics. In this work, we demonstrate that chemically prepared MoS2nanosheets and nanodots have distinctive nonlinear emission properties: the former shows efficient second harmonic generation (SHG) with maximum intensity at its C-exciton resonance energy while the latter exhibits strong excitation-correlated two-photon luminescence (TPL). We combine two-photon photoluminescence excitation (TPPLE) and the Z-scan spectroscopies to study the second order response of the MoS2nanodots and reveal, for the first time, that the most efficient and tunable TPL occurs through resonant two-photon absorption (TPA) induced transition from the 1Shto 1Peexciton state, followed by phonon-mediated exciton relaxation (1Pe→ 1Se) and fast transition to surface states at different energies. With this novel nonlinear spectroscopy approach, we determine the energy splitting between the 1Seand 1Peexcitonic states to be 0.3 eV, which is slightly larger than that for MoS2monolayers, probably due to the stronger quantum confinement effect in the nanodots. We also observe a clear TPA saturation behavior in the MoS2NDs, and this is attributed to the state-filling effect in the 6-fold degenerate 1Pestate. Finally, we demonstrate that these new fundamental understandings of the nonlinear absorption and emission properties of the MoS2NDs are critical for optimizing the performance of MoS2TPL-based multicolor cellular imaging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2434-2444
Number of pages11
JournalACS Photonics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 21 Dec 2016


  • exciton resonance
  • molybdenum disulfide
  • nanodots and nanosheets
  • open-aperture Z-scan
  • two-photon absorption and luminescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biotechnology
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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