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Towards graphene plasmon-based free-electron infrared to X-ray sources

Nature Photonics volume 10, pages 4652 (2016) | Download Citation

Abstract

Rapid progress in nanofabrication methods has fuelled a quest for ultra-compact photonic integrated systems and nanoscale light sources. The prospect of small-footprint, high-quality emitters of short-wavelength radiation is especially exciting due to the importance of extreme-ultraviolet and X-ray radiation as research and diagnostic tools in medicine, engineering and the natural sciences. Here, we propose a highly directional, tunable and monochromatic radiation source based on electrons interacting with graphene plasmons. Our complementary analytical theory and ab initio simulations demonstrate that the high momentum of the strongly confined graphene plasmons enables the generation of high-frequency radiation from relatively low-energy electrons, bypassing the need for lengthy electron acceleration stages or extreme laser intensities. For instance, highly directional 20 keV photons could be generated in a table-top design using electrons from conventional radiofrequency electron guns. The conductive nature and high damage threshold of graphene make it especially suitable for this application. Our electron–plasmon scattering theory is readily extended to other systems in which free electrons interact with surface waves.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank S. Shwartz, H. Buljan and L. Schächter for helpful discussions of aspects related to this work. The work was supported by the US Army Research Laboratory and the US Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies (contract no. W911NF-13-D-0001), and the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC; grant no. 1426500054) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore. The research of I.K. was also partially supported by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Research Council (FP7–Marie Curie IOF) under grant agreement no. 328853 – MC–BSiCS.

Author information

Author notes

    • Liang Jie Wong
    •  & Ido Kaminer

    These authors contributed equally to this work

Affiliations

  1. Department of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

    • Liang Jie Wong
  2. Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology, 2 Fusionopolis Way, Innovis, Singapore 138634, Singapore

    • Liang Jie Wong
  3. Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

    • Ido Kaminer
    • , Ognjen Ilic
    • , John D. Joannopoulos
    •  & Marin Soljačić

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Contributions

All authors discussed the results and made critical contributions to the work.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Liang Jie Wong or Ido Kaminer.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nphoton.2015.223

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