Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors





Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors

Researchers at MIT have found a way to control how graphene conducts electricity by using extremely short light pulses. In this illustration, a lattice of graphene is shown with its bonds (bars) connecting carbon atoms (balls). When the light pulse hits the atoms, electrons can accumulate or diminish in number. By controlling the concentration of electrons in a graphene sheet, researchers can change the material's electrical conductivity.

Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT
Researchers at MIT have found a way to control how graphene conducts electricity by using extremely short light pulses. In this illustration, a lattice of graphene is shown with its bonds (bars) connecting carbon atoms (balls). When the light pulse hits the atoms, electrons can accumulate or diminish in number. By controlling the concentration of electrons in a graphene sheet, researchers can change the material's electrical conductivity.

Illustration: Jose-Luis Olivares/MIT

Abstract:
Graphene, an ultrathin form of carbon with exceptional electrical, optical, and mechanical properties, has become a focus of research on a variety of potential uses. Now researchers at MIT have found a way to control how the material conducts electricity by using extremely short light pulses, which could enable its use as a broadband light detector.

Light pulses control graphene's electrical behavior: Finding could allow ultrafast switching of conduction, and possibly lead to new broadband light sensors

Cambridge, MA | Posted on August 1st, 2014

The new findings are published in the journal Physical Review Letters, in a paper by graduate student Alex Frenzel, Nuh Gedik, and three others.

The researchers found that by controlling the concentration of electrons in a graphene sheet, they could change the way the material responds to a short but intense light pulse. If the graphene sheet starts out with low electron concentration, the pulse increases the material's electrical conductivity. This behavior is similar to that of traditional semiconductors, such as silicon and germanium.

But if the graphene starts out with high electron concentration, the pulse decreases its conductivity — the same way that a metal usually behaves. Therefore, by modulating graphene's electron concentration, the researchers found that they could effectively alter graphene's photoconductive properties from semiconductorlike to metallike.

The finding also explains the photoresponse of graphene reported previously by different research groups, which studied graphene samples with differing concentration of electrons. "We were able to tune the number of electrons in graphene, and get either response," Frenzel says.

To perform this study, the team deposited graphene on top of an insulating layer with a thin metallic film beneath it; by applying a voltage between graphene and the bottom electrode, the electron concentration of graphene could be tuned. The researchers then illuminated graphene with a strong light pulse and measured the change of electrical conduction by assessing the transmission of a second, low-frequency light pulse.

In this case, the laser performs dual functions. "We use two different light pulses: one to modify the material, and one to measure the electrical conduction," Gedik says, adding that the pulses used to measure the conduction are much lower frequency than the pulses used to modify the material behavior. To accomplish this, the researchers developed a device that was transparent, Frenzel explains, to allow laser pulses to pass through it.

This all-optical method avoids the need for adding extra electrical contacts to the graphene. Gedik, the Lawrence C. and Sarah W. Biedenharn Associate Professor of Physics, says the measurement method that Frenzel implemented is a "cool technique. Normally, to measure conductivity you have to put leads on it," he says. This approach, by contrast, "has no contact at all."

Additionally, the short light pulses allow the researchers to change and reveal graphene's electrical response in only a trillionth of a second.

In a surprising finding, the team discovered that part of the conductivity reduction at high electron concentration stems from a unique characteristic of graphene: Its electrons travel at a constant speed, similar to photons, which causes the conductivity to decrease when the electron temperature increases under the illumination of the laser pulse. "Our experiment reveals that the cause of photoconductivity in graphene is very different from that in a normal metal or semiconductor," Frenzel says.

The researchers say the work could aid the development of new light detectors with ultrafast response times and high sensitivity across a wide range of light frequencies, from the infrared to ultraviolet. While the material is sensitive to a broad range of frequencies, the actual percentage of light absorbed is small. Practical application of such a detector would therefore require increasing absorption efficiency, such as by using multiple layers of graphene, Gedik says.

###

The research team also included Jing Kong, the ITT Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering at MIT, who provided the graphene samples used for the experiments; physics postdoc Chun Hung Lui; and Yong Cheol Shin, a graduate student in materials science and engineering. The work received support from the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Andrew Carleen

617-253-1682

Copyright © Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

Graphene

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

Wireless/telecommunications/RF/Antennas

Smaller, faster, cheaper: A new type of modulator for the future of data transmission July 27th, 2015

Researchers boost wireless power transfer with magnetic field enhancement July 23rd, 2015

GLOBALFOUNDRIES Launches Industry’s First 22nm FD-SOI Technology Platform: 22FDX offers the best combination of performance, power consumption and cost for IoT, mainstream mobile, RF connectivity, and networking July 13th, 2015

Investigation of Mechanical Behavior of Heterogeneous Nanostructures in Iran July 13th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Sensors

Successful boron-doping of graphene nanoribbon August 27th, 2015

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

High Precision, High Stability XYZ Microscope Stages, with Capacitive Feedback August 18th, 2015

Setting ground rules for nanotechnology research: Two new projects set the stage for nanotechnology research to move into Big Data August 18th, 2015

Discoveries

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

Materials/Metamaterials

Sustainable nanotechnology center September 1st, 2015

Using ultrathin sheets to discover new class of wrapped shapes: UMass Amherst materials researchers describe a new regime of wrapped shapes August 31st, 2015

An engineered surface unsticks sticky water droplets August 31st, 2015

New material science research may advance tech tools August 31st, 2015

Announcements

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

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

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

For 2-D boron, it's all about that base: Rice University theorists show flat boron form would depend on metal substrates September 2nd, 2015

Silk bio-ink could help advance tissue engineering with 3-D printers September 2nd, 2015

Phagraphene, a 'relative' of graphene, discovered September 2nd, 2015

Photonics/Optics/Lasers

Reversible Writing with Light: Self-assembling nanoparticles take their cues from their surroundings September 3rd, 2015

A marine creature's magic trick explained: Crystal structures on the sea sapphire's back appear differently depending on the angle of reflection September 2nd, 2015

Scientists 'squeeze' light one particle at a time: A team of scientists have measured a bizarre effect in quantum physics, in which individual particles of light are said to have been 'squeezed' -- an achievement which at least one textbook had written off as hopeless September 1st, 2015

Nanotechnology that will impact the Security & Defense sectors to be discussed at NanoSD2015 conference August 25th, 2015

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



  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More











ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project







Car Brands
Buy website traffic