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Nat Mater. 2012 Nov;11(11):936-41. doi: 10.1038/nmat3433. Epub 2012 Sep 30.

Switching terahertz waves with gate-controlled active graphene metamaterials.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), Daejeon 305-751, Republic of Korea.


The extraordinary electronic properties of graphene provided the main thrusts for the rapid advance of graphene electronics. In photonics, the gate-controllable electronic properties of graphene provide a route to efficiently manipulate the interaction of photons with graphene, which has recently sparked keen interest in graphene plasmonics. However, the electro-optic tuning capability of unpatterned graphene alone is still not strong enough for practical optoelectronic applications owing to its non-resonant Drude-like behaviour. Here, we demonstrate that substantial gate-induced persistent switching and linear modulation of terahertz waves can be achieved in a two-dimensional metamaterial, into which an atomically thin, gated two-dimensional graphene layer is integrated. The gate-controllable light-matter interaction in the graphene layer can be greatly enhanced by the strong resonances of the metamaterial. Although the thickness of the embedded single-layer graphene is more than six orders of magnitude smaller than the wavelength (<λ/1,000,000), the one-atom-thick layer, in conjunction with the metamaterial, can modulate both the amplitude of the transmitted wave by up to 47% and its phase by 32.2° at room temperature. More interestingly, the gate-controlled active graphene metamaterials show hysteretic behaviour in the transmission of terahertz waves, which is indicative of persistent photonic memory effects.


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