Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors
Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Flatland optics with graphene

Abstract:
Researchers from CIC nanoGUNE, in collaboration with ICFO and Graphenea, introduce a platform technology based on optical antennas for trapping and controlling light with the one-atom-thick material graphene. The experiments show that the dramatically squeezed graphene-guided light can be focused and bent, following the fundamental principles of conventional optics. The work, published yesterday in Science, opens new opportunities for smaller and faster photonic devices and circuits.

Flatland optics with graphene

Usurbil, Spain | Posted on May 23rd, 2014

Optical circuits and devices could make signal processing and computing much faster. "However, although light is very fast it needs too much space", explains Rainer Hillenbrand, Ikerbasque Professor at nanoGUNE and UPV/EHU. In fact, propagating light needs at least the space of half its wavelength, which is much larger than state-of-the-art electronic building blocks in our computers. For that reason, a quest for squeezing light to propagate it through nanoscale materials arises.

The wonder material graphene, a single layer of carbon atoms with extraordinary properties, has been proposed as one solution. The wavelength of light captured by a graphene layer can be strongly shortened by a factor of 10 to 100 compared to light propagating in free space. As a consequence, this light propagating along the graphene layer - called graphene plasmon - requires much less space.

However, transforming light efficiently into graphene plasmons and manipulating them with a compact device has been a major challenge. A team of researchers from nanoGUNE, ICFO and Graphenea - members of the EU Graphene Flagship - now demonstrates that the antenna concept of radio wave technology could be a promising solution. The team shows that a nanoscale metal rod on graphene (acting as an antenna for light) can capture infrared light and transform it into graphene plasmons, analogous to a radio antenna converting radio waves into electromagnetic waves in a metal cable.

"We introduce a versatile platform technology based on resonant optical antennas for launching and controlling of propagating graphene plasmons, which represents an essential step for the development of graphene plasmonic circuits", says team leader Rainer Hillenbrand. Pablo Alonso-González, who performed the experiments at nanoGUNE, highlights some of the advantages offered by the antenna device: "the excitation of graphene plasmons is purely optical, the device is compact and the phase and wavefronts of the graphene plasmons can be directly controlled by geometrically tailoring the antennas. This is essential to develop applications based on focusing and guiding of light".

The research team also performed theoretical studies. Alexey Nikitin, Ikerbasque Research Fellow at nanoGUNE, performed the calculations and explains that "according to theory, the operation of our device is very efficient, and all the future technological applications will essentially depend upon fabrication limitations and quality of graphene".

Based on Nikitin´s calculations, nanoGUNE's Nanodevices group fabricated gold nanoantennas on graphene provided by Graphenea. The Nanooptics group then used the Neaspec near-field microscope to image how infrared graphene plasmons are launched and propagate along the graphene layer. In the images, the researchers saw that, indeed, waves on graphene propagate away from the antenna, like waves on a water surface when a stone is thrown in.

In order to test whether the two-dimensional propagation of light waves along a one-atom-thick carbon layer follow the laws of conventional optics, the researchers tried to focus and refract the waves. For the focusing experiment, they curved the antenna. The images then showed that the graphene plasmons focus away from the antenna, similar to the light beam that is concentrated with a lens or concave mirror.

The team also observed that graphene plasmons refract (bend) when they pass through a prism-shaped graphene bilayer, analogous to the bending of a light beam passing through a glass prism. "The big difference is that the graphene prism is only two atoms thick. It is the thinnest refracting optical prism ever", says Rainer Hillenbrand. Intriguingly, the graphene plasmons are bent because the conductivity in the two-atom-thick prism is larger than in the surrounding one-atom-thick layer. In the future, such conductivity changes in graphene could be also generated by simple electronic means, allowing for highly efficient electric control of refraction, among others for steering applications.

Altogether, the experiments show that the fundamental and most important principles of conventional optics also apply for graphene plasmons, in other words, squeezed light propagating along a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms. Future developments based on these results could lead to extremely miniaturized optical circuits and devices that could be useful for sensing and computing, among other applications.

References
P. Alonso-González1, A.Y. Nikitin1,5, F. Golmar1,2, A. Centeno3, A. Pesquera3, S. Vélez1, J. Chen1, G. Navickaite4, F. Koppens4, A. Zurutuza3, F. Casanova 1,5, L.E. Hueso 1,5 eta R. Hillenbrand 1,5. "Controlling grapheme plasmons with resonant metal antennas and spatial conductivity patterns" Science (2014) DOI: 10.1126/science.1253202

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Irati Kortabitarte

34-943-363-040

Copyright © Elhuyar Fundazioa

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels May 22nd, 2019

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth May 17th, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

Generating high-quality single photons for quantum computing: New dual-cavity design emits more single photons that can carry quantum information at room temperature May 17th, 2019

Graphene/ Graphite

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

ZEN gets $1m grant for graphene-enhanced concrete project May 12th, 2019

No ink needed for these graphene artworks: Artist employs Rice University lab's laser-induced graphene as medium for ultramodern art May 3rd, 2019

Chip Technology

Generating high-quality single photons for quantum computing: New dual-cavity design emits more single photons that can carry quantum information at room temperature May 17th, 2019

Skoltech researchers developed new perovskite-inspired semiconductors for electronic devices May 13th, 2019

2D insulators with ferromagnetism are rare; researchers just identified a new one May 10th, 2019

Computing faster with quasi-particles May 10th, 2019

Sensors

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

Better microring sensors for optical applications May 10th, 2019

Nanoscribe is Technology Partner of the Research Project MiLiQuant: 3D microfabrication meets quantum technology - Miniaturized light sources for industrial use in the fields of quantum sensor technology and quantum imaging April 1st, 2019

A Research Hat-Trick: Mechanical engineering professor Bolin Liao receives third early-career award since September March 26th, 2019

Discoveries

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels May 22nd, 2019

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency: A slippery surface for liquids with very low surface tension promotes droplet formation, facilitating heat transfer May 17th, 2019

Announcements

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels May 22nd, 2019

Neutrons unlock the secrets of limoncello May 21st, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

New surface treatment could improve refrigeration efficiency: A slippery surface for liquids with very low surface tension promotes droplet formation, facilitating heat transfer May 17th, 2019

Interviews/Book Reviews/Essays/Reports/Podcasts/Journals/White papers

Artificial photosynthesis transforms carbon dioxide into liquefiable fuels May 22nd, 2019

Machine learning speeds modeling of experiments aimed at capturing fusion energy on Earth May 17th, 2019

Manipulating atoms one at a time with an electron beam: New method could be useful for building quantum sensors and computers May 17th, 2019

Generating high-quality single photons for quantum computing: New dual-cavity design emits more single photons that can carry quantum information at room temperature May 17th, 2019

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Sculpting Super-Fast Light Pulses: NIST Nanopillars Shape Light Precisely for Practical Applications May 3rd, 2019

2D borophene gets a closer look: Rice, Northwestern find new ways to image, characterize unique material April 11th, 2019

New hybrid energy method could fuel the future of rockets, spacecraft for exploration: Nontraditional route shown to increase performance, burn rate April 9th, 2019

Nanoscribe is Technology Partner of the Research Project MiLiQuant: 3D microfabrication meets quantum technology - Miniaturized light sources for industrial use in the fields of quantum sensor technology and quantum imaging April 1st, 2019

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project