Graphene-based electrically tunable terahertz optoelectronics

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Bilkent University
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Advances in terahertz (THz) research and technology, has bridged the gap between radio-frequency electronics and optics. More efficient control of THz waves would highly benefit noninvasive, high-resolution imaging and ultra-fast wireless communications. However, lack of active materials in THz, hinders the realization of these technologies. Graphene, 2d-crystal of carbon atoms, is a promising candidate for reconfigurable THz optoelectronics due to its unique electronic band structure which yields gate-tunable optical response. Here, we studied gate-tunable optical properties of graphene in THz frequencies. Using time-domain and continuous wave THz spectroscopy techniques, tunable Drude response of graphene is investigated at very high doping levels with Fermi energies up to 1 eV. Our results show that, transport scattering time decreases significantly with doping. Unlike conventional semiconductors, we observed nearly perfect electron-hole symmetry even at very high doping levels. In the second part, we implemented using these unique tunable properties for novel THz optoelectronic devices such as THz intensity modulators and THz spatial light modulators. These devices are based on various designs of mutually gated capacitive structures consisting of ionic liquid electrolyte sandwiched between graphene and metallic electrodes. Low insertion losses (<2 dB), high modulation depth (>50 %) over a broad spectrum (0.1-2 THz), and the simplicity of the device structure are the key attributes of graphene based THz devices. Furthermore, with the optimized device architectures, gate tunable coherent perfect absorption is observed in THz which yields modulation depth of nearly 100 %. The approaches developed in this work surpass the challenges of generating high carrier densities on graphene, and introduce low-loss devices with practical fabrication methods which we believe can lead to more responsive and sophisticated optoelectronic devices.

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Graphene, Drude conductivity, Modulator, THz-Spatial light modulators, Terahertz optoelectronics, Electrolyte gating, Coherent perfect absorption
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