Applied Physics

Graphene's Plasmon Prospects

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Science  01 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6085, pp. 1080
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6085.1080-d

The length scales pertaining in optics and nanoelectronic circuitry differ by orders of magnitude. Combining the two offers the potential of exploiting the ultimate in transmission speed (the speed of light) with the tens of nanometers scale available to state-of-the-art chip fabrication facilities. Plasmons are light-induced collective electronic excitations usually found confined to the near-surface region of metals, and it is this deep subwavelength confinement that is thought to offer the potential for providing that bridging capability. However, plasmons tend to suffer from short propagation lengths, making plasmon circuitry design a challenge. Thongrattanasiri et al. explore the possibility of using graphene as a platform to support the plasmonic excitations. Their numerical work shows that the longer lifetime of the plasmonic excitations in graphene, taken together with the ability to alter the transport properties via patterned electrostatic gating of the material, should provide a promising route toward realizing a viable plasmon circuit technology.

Appl. Phys. Lett. 100, 201105 (2012).

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