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Photocurrent in graphene harnessed by tunable intrinsic plasmons

Nature Communications volume 4, Article number: 1951 (2013) | Download Citation

Abstract

Graphene’s optical properties in the infrared and terahertz can be tailored and enhanced by patterning graphene into periodic metamaterials with sub-wavelength feature sizes. Here we demonstrate polarization-sensitive and gate-tunable photodetection in graphene nanoribbon arrays. The long-lived hybrid plasmon–phonon modes utilized are coupled excitations of electron density oscillations and substrate (SiO2) surface polar phonons. Their excitation by s-polarization leads to an in-resonance photocurrent, an order of magnitude larger than the photocurrent observed for p-polarization, which excites electron–hole pairs. The plasmonic detectors exhibit photo-induced temperature increases up to four times as large as comparable two-dimensional graphene detectors. Moreover, the photocurrent sign becomes polarization sensitive in the narrowest nanoribbon arrays owing to differences in decay channels for photoexcited hybrid plasmon–phonons and electrons. Our work provides a path to light-sensitive and frequency-selective photodetectors based on graphene’s plasmonic excitations.

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Acknowledgements

We thank B. Ek and J. Bucchignano for help with device fabrication.

Author information

Author notes

    • Marcus Freitag
    • , Tony Low
    •  & Wenjuan Zhu

    These authors contributed equally to this work

Affiliations

  1. IBM Research Division, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, 1101 Kitchawan Road, Yorktown Heights, New York, New York 10598, USA

    • Marcus Freitag
    • , Tony Low
    • , Wenjuan Zhu
    • , Hugen Yan
    • , Fengnian Xia
    •  & Phaedon Avouris

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Contributions

M.F., H.Y., F.X. and P.A. conceived the idea; M.F. designed the experiments; W.Z. fabricated the samples; M.F. performed the electro-optical measurements; M.F. and W.Z. measured the temperature dependence; H.Y. measured the extinction spectra; M.F. and T.L. analysed the data; T.L. performed theoretical calculations; M.F. and T.L. co-wrote the paper; P.A. supervised the work; and all authors discussed the results at all stages and contributed to the improvement of the manuscript text.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marcus Freitag.

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    Supplementary Information

    Supplementary Figures S1-S5, Supplementary Note 1 and Supplementary References

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms2951

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