Direct Detection of Circularly Polarized Light Using Chiral Copper Chloride-Carbon Nanotube Heterostructures

Jeffrey Blackburn, Ji Hao, Haipeng Lu, Lingling Mao, Xihan Chen, Matthew Beard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus Citations


The emergent properties of chiral organic-inorganic hybrid materials offer opportunities in spin-dependent optoelectronic devices. One of the most promising applications where spin, charge, and light are strongly coupled is circularly polarized light (CPL) detection. However, the performance of state-of-the-art CPL detectors using chiral hybrid metal halide semiconductors is still limited by the low anisotropy factor, poor conductivity, and limited photoresponsivity. Here, we synthesize 0D chiral copper chloride hybrids, templated by chiral methylbenzylammonium (R/S-MBA), i.e., (R-/S-MBA)2CuCl4, that display circular dichroism for the ligand-to-metal charge transfer transition with an absorption anisotropy factor (gCD) among the largest reported for chiral metal halide semiconductor hybrids. To circumvent the poor conductivity of the unpercolated inorganic framework of this chiral absorber, we develop a direct CPL detector that utilizes a heterojunction between the chiral (MBA)2CuCl4 absorber layer and a semiconducting single-walled carbon nanotube (s-SWCNT) transport channel. Our chiral heterostructure shows high photoresponsivity of 452 A/W, a competitive anisotropy factor (gres) of up to 0.21, a current response in microamperes, and low working voltage down to 0.01 V. Our results clearly demonstrate a useful strategy toward high-performance chiral optoelectronic devices, where a nanoscale heterostructure enables direct CPL detection even for highly insulating chiral materials.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7608-7617
Number of pages10
JournalACS Nano
Issue number4
StatePublished - 27 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5K00-79165


  • carbon nanotube
  • chiral copper chloride
  • chiral organic-inorganic hybrid materials
  • circularly polarized light detection
  • heterojunction
  • optoelectronics


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