Graphene research so far has focused on electronic1,2,3,4,5,6 rather than photonic applications, in spite of its impressive optical properties7,8. These include its ability to absorb ∼2% of incident light over a broad wavelength range despite being just one atom thick7. Here, we demonstrate ultrafast transistor-based photodetectors made from single- and few-layer graphene. The photoresponse does not degrade for optical intensity modulations up to 40 GHz, and further analysis suggests that the intrinsic bandwidth may exceed 500 GHz. The generation and transport of photocarriers in graphene differ fundamentally from those in photodetectors made from conventional semiconductors as a result of the unique photonic and electronic properties of the graphene. This leads to a remarkably high bandwidth, zero source–drain bias and dark current operation, and good internal quantum efficiency.
Subscribe to Journal
Get full journal access for 1 year
only $14.08 per issue
All prices are NET prices.
VAT will be added later in the checkout.
Rent or Buy article
Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.
All prices are NET prices.
Novoselov, K. S. et al. Electric field effect in atomically thin carbon films. Science 306, 666–669 (2004).
Novoselov, K. S. et al. Two-dimensional gas of massless Dirac fermions in graphene. Nature 438, 197–200 (2005).
Zhang, Y., Tan, J. W., Stormer, H. L. & Kim, P. Experimental observation of the quantum Hall effect and Berry's phase in graphene. Nature 438, 201–204 (2005).
Avouris, Ph., Chen, Z. & Perebeinos, V. Carbon-based electronics, Nature Nanotech. 2, 605–615 (2007).
Geim, A. K. & Novoselov, K. S. The rise of graphene. Nature Mater. 6, 183–191 (2007).
Lin, Y. M. et al. Operation of graphene transistors at gigahertz frequencies. Nano Lett. 9, 422–426 (2009).
Nair, R. R. et al. Fine structure constant defines visual transparency of graphene. Science 320, 1308 (2008).
Wang, F. et al. Gate-variable optical transition in graphene. Science 320, 206–209 (2008).
Chuang, S. Physics of Optoelectronic Devices (Wiley, 1995).
Li, Z. Q. et al. Dirac charge dynamics in graphene by infrared spectroscopy. Nature Phys. 4, 532–535 (2008).
Ryzhii, V., Mitin, V., Ryzhii, M., Ryabova, N. & Otsuji, T. Device model for graphene nanoribbon phototransistor. Appl. Phys. Exp. 1, 063002 (2008).
Vasko, F. T. & Ryzhii, V. Voltage and temperature dependencies of conductivity in gated graphene. Phys. Rev. B 76, 233404 (2007).
George, P. A. et al. Ultrafast optical-pump terahertz-probe spectroscopy of the carrier relaxation and recombination dynamics in epitaxial graphene. Nano Lett. 8, 4248–4251 (2008).
Rana, F. et al. Carrier recombination and generation rates for intravalley and intervalley phonon scattering in graphene. Phys. Rev. B 79, 115447 (2009).
Lee, E. J. H., Balasubramanian, K., Weitz, R. T., Burghard, M. & Kern, K. Contact and edge effects in graphene devices. Nature Nanotech. 3, 486–490 (2008).
Xia, F. et al. Photocurrent imaging and efficient photon detection in a graphene transistor. Nano Lett. 9, 1039–1044 (2009).
Mueller, T., Xia, F., Freitag, M., Tsang, J. & Avouris, Ph. Role of contacts in graphene transistors: a scanning photocurrent study. Phys. Rev. B 79, 245430 (2009).
Ishibashi, T. et al. InP/InGaAs uni-travelling-carrier photodiodes. IEICE Trans. Electron. E83-C, 938–949 (2000).
Ito. H., Furuta, T., Kodama, S. & Ishibashi, T. InP/InGaAs uni-travelling-carrier photodiodes with a 340 GHz bandwidth. Electron. Lett. 36, 1809–1810 (2000).
Kato, K., Kawano, K. & Kozen, A. Design of ultra-wide band, high sensitivity p–i–n photodetectors. IEICE Trans. Electron. E76-C, 214–221 (1993).
Xia, F. et al. An asymmetric twin-waveguide high-bandwidth photodiode using a lateral taper coupler. IEEE Photon. Technol. Lett. 13, 845–847 (2001).
Gmachl, C. et al. New frontiers in quantum cascade lasers and applications. IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 6, 931–947 (2000).
Mittleman, D. M., Jacobsen, R. H. & Nuss, M. C. T-ray imaging. IEEE J. Sel. Top. Quantum Electron. 3, 679–692 (1996).
Wang, J., Gudiksen, M. S., Duan, X., Cui, Y. & Lieber, C. M. Highly polarized photoluminescence and photodetection from single indium phosphide nanowires. Science 293, 1455–1457 (2001).
Ferrari, A. C. et al. Raman spectrum of graphene and graphene layers. Phys. Rev. Lett. 97, 187401 (2006).
Wolff, I. Coplanar Microwave Integrated Circuits Ch.1 (Wiley, 2006).
Demiguel, S. Analysis of partially depleted absorber waveguide photodiodes. IEEE J. Lightwave Technol. 23, 2505–2512 (2005).
Guo, J., Yoon, Y. & Ouyang, Y. Gate electrostatics and quantum capacitance of graphene nanoribbons. Nano Lett. 7, 1935–1940 (2007).
Sze, S. M., Coleman, D. J. & Loya, A. Current transport in metal–semiconductor–metal (MSM) structures. Solid-State Electron. 14, 1209–1218 (1971).
Meric, I. et al. Current saturation in zero-bandgap, top-gated graphene field-effect transistors. Nature Nanotech. 3, 654–659 (2008).
The authors are grateful to M. Freitag and Z. Chen for helpful discussions, to Y. Vlasov, S. Assefa, W. Green, C. Schow and L. Schares for help with the radio-frequency measurements, to J. Tsang for Raman measurements, and to B. Ek and J. Bucchignano for technical assistance. F.X. is indebted to C.Y. Sung for his encouragement. T.M. acknowledges financial support by the Austrian Science Fund FWF (Erwin Schrödinger fellowship J2705-N16).
About this article
Cite this article
Xia, F., Mueller, T., Lin, Ym. et al. Ultrafast graphene photodetector. Nature Nanotech 4, 839–843 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2009.292
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics (2021)
Optics Communications (2021)
Ultra-Wide Spectral Bandwidth and Enhanced Absorption in a Metallic Compound Grating Covered by Graphene Monolayer
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (2021)
Computational Materials Science (2021)