Optical absorption is one of the most fundamental processes in light-matter interactions. The ability to achieve and control high absorption is crucial for a broad range of modern photonic technologies. In nanomaterials of length scales much smaller than a wavelength, optical absorption is typically a weak perturbation. To achieve high absorption, exquisite techniques and structures have been developed, such as coherent interference of multiple laser beams and plasmonic metasurfaces. Here, we show that a robust critical-coupling condition exists to allow perfect absorption of light by a subnanometer-thick two-dimensional semiconductor, when the radiative-decay rate of the exciton resonance balances with its loss rate. We measure an absorption up to 99.6% in a monomolecular MoSe2 crystal placed in front of a flat mirror. We furthermore demonstrate control of the perfect absorption by tuning the exciton-phonon, exciton-exciton, and exciton-photon interactions with temperature, pulsed laser excitation, and a movable mirror, respectively. Our work suggests a mechanism to achieve and control critical coupling in two-dimensional excitonic systems, enabling photonic applications including ultrafast low-power light modulators and sensitive optical sensing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)