Thermoelectric detection and imaging of propagating graphene plasmons


Controlling, detecting and generating propagating plasmons by all-electrical means is at the heart of on-chip nano-optical processing1,2,3. Graphene carries long-lived plasmons that are extremely confined and controllable by electrostatic fields4,5,6,7; however, electrical detection of propagating plasmons in graphene has not yet been realized. Here, we present an all-graphene mid-infrared plasmon detector operating at room temperature, where a single graphene sheet serves simultaneously as the plasmonic medium and detector. Rather than achieving detection via added optoelectronic materials, as is typically done in other plasmonic systems8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15, our device converts the natural decay product of the plasmon—electronic heat—directly into a voltage through the thermoelectric effect16,17. We employ two local gates to fully tune the thermoelectric and plasmonic behaviour of the graphene. High-resolution real-space photocurrent maps are used to investigate the plasmon propagation and interference, decay, thermal diffusion, and thermoelectric generation.

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Figure 1: Concept and device.
Figure 2: Plasmon photocurrent spatial maps.
Figure 3: Linecuts along xtip and ytip.
Figure 4: Gate dependence.


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We thank M. Polini, A. Nikitin and K.-J. Tielrooij for fruitful discussions. F.H.L.K. and R.H. acknowledge support by the EC under Graphene Flagship (contract no. CNECT-ICT-604391). F.H.L.K. acknowledges support by Fundacio Cellex Barcelona, the ERC starting grant (307806, CarbonLight), the Government of Catalonia through the SGR grant (2014-SGR-1535), the Mineco grants Ramón y Cajal (RYC-2012-12281) and Plan Nacional (FIS2013-47161-P), and the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, through the Severo Ochoa Programme for Centres of Excellence in R&D (SEV-2015-0522). R.H. acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (national project MAT2015-65525-R). Y.G., C.T. and J.H. acknowledge support from the US Office of Naval Research N00014-13-1-0662. C.T. was supported under contract FA9550-11-C-0028 and awarded by the Department of Defense, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship, 32 CFR 168a. This research used resources of the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, which is a US DOE Office of Science Facility, at Brookhaven National Laboratory under Contract No. DE-SC0012704. This work used open source software (,,

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M.B.L. performed the measurements, analysis, modelling, and wrote the manuscript. Y.G. and C.T. fabricated the samples. A.W. and P.A.-G. helped with measurements. K.W. and T.T. synthesized the hBN samples. J.H., R.H. and F.H.L.K. supervised the work, discussed the results and co-wrote the manuscript. All authors contributed to the scientific discussion and manuscript revisions.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frank H. L. Koppens.

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Competing interests

R.H. is co-founder of Neaspec GmbH, a company producing scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscope systems such as the ones used in this study. All other authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Lundeberg, M., Gao, Y., Woessner, A. et al. Thermoelectric detection and imaging of propagating graphene plasmons. Nature Mater 16, 204–207 (2017).

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