Strong optical nonlinearity of ultrathin graphitic films synthesized on dielectric substrates

Tommi Kaplas, Masoud Babaeian, Benjamin Cromey, Marian Baah, Petr Obraztsov, Farhad Akhoundi, N. Peyghambarian, Khanh Kieu, Yuri Svirko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We propose and demonstrate a scalable technique to grow a thin polycrystalline graphitic film directly onto a fused silica substrate. The technique is based on the pyrolysis of a photoresist in the presence of a sacrificial 10 nm thick nickel catalyst layer. The synthesized graphitic film with a thickness of about 50 nm possesses almost constant 40% absorptance over visual and near infrared spectral regions. By using Raman characterization, third harmonic generation spectroscopy, and the Z-scan technique we perform a comparative study of the films pyrolyzed with and without a Ni catalyst. We show that the amorphous carbon dominates the linear and nonlinear optical properties of the resist film pyrolyzed without the Ni catalyst. In contrast, in presence of a Ni catalyst layer, the pyrolysis leads to a graphitic film that demonstrates a strong saturable absorption behavior at 1550 nm wavelength and has a nonlinear refractive index comparable with that of graphene. Thus, the developed, transfer-free synthesis technique provides an alternative route towards the controllable growth of wafer scale graphitic films on the dielectric substrates for photonics applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number143766
JournalApplied Surface Science
StatePublished - Dec 15 2019


  • Graphene
  • Graphitic thin films
  • Nonlinear optics
  • Saturable absorption
  • Transfer-free synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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