Controlling graphene plasmons with resonant metal antennas and spatial conductivity patterns

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Science  20 Jun 2014:
Vol. 344, Issue 6190, pp. 1369-1373
DOI: 10.1126/science.1253202

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A controlled launch for plasmons

To create nanophotonic devices, engineers must combine large-scale optics with tiny nanoelectronics. Plasmons, the collective light-induced excitations of electrons at a metal's surface, can bridge that difference in size scales. Alonso-Gonzalez et al. placed structured gold “antennas” on top of a graphene layer to launch and propagate plasmonic excitations into the graphene. By carefully designing the antennas, the researchers could engineer the wavefronts of the plasmons and control the direction of propagation. This approach illustrates a versatile approach for the development of nanophotonics.

Science, this issue p. 1369


Graphene plasmons promise unique possibilities for controlling light in nanoscale devices and for merging optics with electronics. We developed a versatile platform technology based on resonant optical antennas and conductivity patterns for launching and control of propagating graphene plasmons, an essential step for the development of graphene plasmonic circuits. We launched and focused infrared graphene plasmons with geometrically tailored antennas and observed how they refracted when passing through a two-dimensional conductivity pattern, here a prism-shaped bilayer. To that end, we directly mapped the graphene plasmon wavefronts by means of an imaging method that will be useful in testing future design concepts for nanoscale graphene plasmonic circuits and devices.

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