Article | Published:

Generation of photovoltage in graphene on a femtosecond timescale through efficient carrier heating

Nature Nanotechnology volume 10, pages 437443 (2015) | Download Citation

Abstract

Graphene is a promising material for ultrafast and broadband photodetection. Earlier studies have addressed the general operation of graphene-based photothermoelectric devices and the switching speed, which is limited by the charge carrier cooling time, on the order of picoseconds. However, the generation of the photovoltage could occur at a much faster timescale, as it is associated with the carrier heating time. Here, we measure the photovoltage generation time and find it to be faster than 50 fs. As a proof-of-principle application of this ultrafast photodetector, we use graphene to directly measure, electrically, the pulse duration of a sub-50 fs laser pulse. The observation that carrier heating is ultrafast suggests that energy from absorbed photons can be efficiently transferred to carrier heat. To study this, we examine the spectral response and find a constant spectral responsivity of between 500 and 1,500 nm. This is consistent with efficient electron heating. These results are promising for ultrafast femtosecond and broadband photodetector applications.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    & Anomalous thermoelectric transport of Dirac particles in graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 166808 (2009).

  2. 2.

    et al. Photo-thermoelectric effect at a graphene interface junction. Nano Lett. 10, 562–566 (2010).

  3. 3.

    et al. Hot carrier transport and photocurrent response in graphene. Nano Lett. 11, 4688–4692 (2011).

  4. 4.

    et al. Hot carrier-assisted intrinsic photoresponse in graphene. Science 334, 648–652 (2011).

  5. 5.

    et al. Photodetectors based on graphene, other two-dimensional materials and hybrid systems. Nature Nanotech. 9, 780–793 (2014).

  6. 6.

    & Increased responsivity of suspended graphene photodetectors. Nano Lett. 13, 1644 (2013).

  7. 7.

    et al. Photothermoelectric and photoelectric contributions to light detection in metal–graphene–metal photodetectors. Nano Lett. 14, 3733–3742 (2014).

  8. 8.

    & Graphene photonics and optoelectronics. Nature Photon. 4, 611–622 (2010).

  9. 9.

    et al. Sensitive room-temperature terahertz detection via the photothermoelectric effect in graphene. Nature Nanotech. 9, 814–819 (2014).

  10. 10.

    et al. Ultrafast optical-pump terahertz-probe spectroscopy of the carrier relaxation and recombination dynamics in epitaxial graphene. Nano Lett. 8, 4248–4251 (2008).

  11. 11.

    et al. Ultrafast photoluminscence from graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 105, 127404 (2010).

  12. 12.

    et al. Ultrafast nonequilibrium carrier dynamics in a single graphene layer. Phys. Rev. B 83, 153410 (2011).

  13. 13.

    et al. Direct view on the ultrafast carrier dynamics in graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 11, 027403 (2013).

  14. 14.

    et al. Snapshots of non-equilibrium Dirac carrier distributions in graphene. Nature Mater. 12, 1119–1124 (2013).

  15. 15.

    et al. Ultrafast collinear scattering and carrier multiplication in graphene. Nature Commun. 4, 1987 (2013).

  16. 16.

    et al. Photoexcitation cascade and multiple hot-carrier generation in graphene. Nature Phys. 9, 248–252 (2013).

  17. 17.

    et al. Competing ultrafast energy relaxation pathways in photoexcited graphene. Nano Lett. 14, 5839–5845 (2014).

  18. 18.

    & Intrinsic response time of graphene photodetectors. Nano Lett. 11, 2804–2808 (2011).

  19. 19.

    et al. Ultrafast hot-carrier-dominated photovoltage in graphene. Nature Nanotech. 7, 114–118 (2012).

  20. 20.

    & Photocurrent measurements of supercollision cooling in graphene. Nature Phys. 9, 103–108 (2013).

  21. 21.

    & Ultrafast graphene photodetector. Nature Nanotech. 4, 839–843 (2009).

  22. 22.

    & Graphene photodetectors for high-speed optical communications. Nature Photon. 4, 297–301 (2010).

  23. 23.

    et al. Chip-integrated ultrafast graphene photodetector with high responsivity. Nature Photon. 7, 883–887 (2013).

  24. 24.

    et al. CMOS-compatible graphene photodetector covering all optical communication bands. Nature Photon. 7, 892–896 (2013).

  25. 25.

    et al. 50 GBit/s photodetectors based on wafer-scale graphene for integrated silicon photonic communication systems. ACS Photon. 1, 781–784 (2014).

  26. 26.

    Physics of Semiconductor Devices (Wiley, 1969).

  27. 27.

    Introduction to Solid State Physics (Wiley, 2005).

  28. 28.

    et al. Making graphene visible. Appl. Phys. Lett. 91, 063124 (2007).

  29. 29.

    & Carrier multiplication in graphene. Nano Lett. 10, 4839–4843 (2010).

  30. 30.

    et al. Photoexcited carrier dynamics and impact-excitation cascade in graphene. Phys. Rev. B 87, 155429 (2013).

  31. 31.

    et al. Competing channels for hot-electron cooling in graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 112, 247401 (2014).

  32. 32.

    et al. One-dimensional electrical contact to a two-dimensional material. Science 342, 614–617 (2013).

  33. 33.

    & Photoconductivity of biased graphene. Nature Photon. 7, 53–59 (2013).

  34. 34.

    et al. Dual-gated bilayer graphene hot-electron bolometer. Nature Nanotech. 7, 472–478 (2012).

  35. 35.

    et al. Imaging ultrafast carrier transport in nanoscale field-effect transistors. ACS Nano 8, 11361–11368 (2014).

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors thank J. Song, L. Levitov and D. Brinks for discussions. K.J.T. acknowledges NWO for a Rubicon fellowship. L.P. acknowledges financial support from the Marie-Curie International Fellowship COFUND and the ICFOnest programme. F.K. acknowledges support by the Fundacio Cellex Barcelona, an ERC Career integration grant (294056, GRANOP) and ERC starting grant (307806, CarbonLight) and support by the EC under the Graphene Flagship (contract no. CNECT-ICT-604391). N.v.H. acknowledges support from an ERC advanced grant (ERC247330). Q.M. and P.J.H. have been supported by the AFOSR (grant no. FA9550-11-1-0225) and a Packard Fellowship. This work made use of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center Shared Experimental Facilities supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant no. DMR-0819762) and Harvard's Center for Nanoscale Systems, supported by the NSF (grant no. ECS-0335765). Y.L., K.S.M. and C.N.L. are supported by the DOE BES division under grant no. ER 46940-DE-SC0010597. C.N.L. acknowledges support from the CONSEPT Center at UCR.

Author information

Author notes

    • L. Piatkowski
    •  & M. Massicotte

    These authors contributed equally to this work

Affiliations

  1. ICFO – Institut de Ciències Fotòniques, Mediterranean Technology Park, Castelldefels (Barcelona) 08860, Spain

    • K. J. Tielrooij
    • , L. Piatkowski
    • , M. Massicotte
    • , A. Woessner
    • , N. F. van Hulst
    •  & F. H. L. Koppens
  2. Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

    • Q. Ma
    •  & P. Jarillo-Herrero
  3. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of California, Riverside, California 92521, USA

    • Y. Lee
    • , K. S. Myhro
    •  & C. N. Lau
  4. ICREA – Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, Barcelona 08010, Spain

    • N. F. van Hulst

Authors

  1. Search for K. J. Tielrooij in:

  2. Search for L. Piatkowski in:

  3. Search for M. Massicotte in:

  4. Search for A. Woessner in:

  5. Search for Q. Ma in:

  6. Search for Y. Lee in:

  7. Search for K. S. Myhro in:

  8. Search for C. N. Lau in:

  9. Search for P. Jarillo-Herrero in:

  10. Search for N. F. van Hulst in:

  11. Search for F. H. L. Koppens in:

Contributions

K.J.T., F.H.L.K., N.v.H. and P.J.H. conceived the experiments. K.J.T., L.P. and M.M. carried out the experiments. K.J.T., M.M., L.P. and F.H.L.K. performed the data analysis. Q.M., M.M., Y.L. and C.N.L. fabricated the samples. K.J.T. and A.W. performed simulations. K.J.T., F.H.L.K., N.v.H. and P.J.H. wrote the manuscript, with the participation of all authors.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to K. J. Tielrooij or N. F. van Hulst or F. H. L. Koppens.

Supplementary information

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nnano.2015.54

Further reading