Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Taming light with graphene

Date:
June 20, 2012
Source:
Elhuyar Fundazioa
Summary:
Scientists have visualized the trapping and confinement of light on graphene, making a sheet of carbon atoms the most promising candidate for optical information processing on the nano-scale, optical detection, and ultrafast optoelectronics.

Optical nanoimaging of graphene plasmons. Upper panel: Sketch of the imaging method. A laser illuminated scanning tip launches plasmons on graphene. Detection is by recording the light backscattered from the tip. Lower panel: Optical image of graphene, where the fringes visualize the interference of the graphene plasmons.
Credit: Image courtesy of Elhuyar Fundazioa

Scientists have visualized the trapping and confinement of light on graphene, making a sheet of carbon atoms the most promising candidate for optical information processing on the nano-scale, optical detection, and ultrafast optoelectronics.

Related Articles


Spanish research groups have achieved the first ever visualizations of light guided with nanometric precision on graphene (a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms). This visualization demonstrates what theoretical physicists have long predicted; that it is possible to trap and manipulate light in a highly efficient way, using graphene as a novel platform for optical information processing and sensing. Synergies between theoretical proposals from IQFR-CSIC (Madrid), specializations in graphene nano-photonics and nano-optoelectonics at ICFO (Barcelona), and experimental expertise in optical nano-imaging at nanoGUNE (San Sebastian) give rise to these noteworthy results reported in Nature this week in a back-to-back publication alongside a similar study by the group of Dmitry Basov in UCSD in California.

Graphene is a material that, among many other fascinating properties, has an extraordinary optical behavior. Particularly interesting optical properties had been predicted for the case that light couples to so-called plasmons, wave-like excitations that were predicted to exist in the "sea" of conduction electrons of graphene. However, no direct experimental evidence of plasmons in graphene had been shown up to this work. This is because the wavelength of graphene plasmons is 10 to 100 times smaller than what can be seen with conventional light microscopes.

Now, the researchers show the first experimental images of graphene plasmons. They used a so called near-field microscope that uses a sharp tip to convert the illumination light into a nanoscale light spot that provides the extra push needed for the plasmons to be created. At the same time the tip probes the presence of plasmons. Rainer Hillenbrand, leader of the nanoGUNE group comments: "Seeing is believing! Our near-field optical images definitely proof the existence of propagating and localized graphene plasmons and allow for a direct measurement of their dramatically reduced wavelength."

As demonstrated by the researchers, graphene plasmons can be used to electrically control light in a similar fashion as is traditionally achieved with electrons in a transistor. These capabilities, which until now were impossible with other existing plasmonic materials, enable new highly efficient nano-scale optical switches which can perform calculations using light instead of electricity.

"With our work we show that graphene is an excellent choice for solving the long-standing and technologically important problem of modulating light at the speeds of today's microchips," says Javier Garcํa de Abajo, leader of the IQFR-CSIC group. In addition, the capability of trapping light in very small volumes could give rise to a new generation of nano-sensors with applications in diverse areas such as medicine and bio-detection, solar cells and light detectors, as well as quantum information processing. This result literally opens a new field of research and provides a first viable path towards ultrafast tuning of light, which was not possible until now. Frank Koppens, leader of the ICFO group, summarizes: "Graphene is a novel and unique material for plasmonics, truly bridging the fields of nano-electronics and nano-optics."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elhuyar Fundazioa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jianing Chen, Michela Badioli, Pablo Alonso-Gonzแlez, Sukosin Thongrattanasiri, Florian Huth, Johann Osmond, Marko Spasenović, Alba Centeno, Amaia Pesquera, Philippe Godignon, Amaia Zurutuza Elorza, Nicolas Camara, F. Javier Garcํa de Abajo, Rainer Hillenbrand, Frank H. L. Koppens. Optical nano-imaging of gate-tunable graphene plasmons. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11254

Cite This Page:

Elhuyar Fundazioa. "Taming light with graphene." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133045.htm>.
Elhuyar Fundazioa. (2012, June 20). Taming light with graphene. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133045.htm
Elhuyar Fundazioa. "Taming light with graphene." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620133045.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) — Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) — What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) — A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) — The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins