What is it about?

We show that illuminating graphene with a mid-infrared laser could be a key to switch off conduction, thereby improving the possibilities for novel optoelectronic devices. In an article featured in Applied Physics Letters, the researchers report on the first atomistic simulations of electrical conduction through a micrometer-sized graphene sample illuminated by a laser field. Their simulations show that a laser in the mid-infrared can open an observable bandgap in this otherwise gapless material.

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Why is it important?

We show that it is possible to control the flow of electrons with a laser "on-off switch"."The problem of graphene interacting with radiation is also of current interest for the understanding of more exotic states of matter such as the topological insulators."

Perspectives

"Imagine that by turning on the light, graphene conduction is turned off, or vice versa. This would allow the transduction of optical into electrical signals," says Luis Foa Torres, the researcher leading this collaboration.

Professor Horacio M. Pastawski
Instituto de Física Enrique Gaviola- Conicet- Universidad Nacional de Córdoba

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This page is a summary of: Tuning laser-induced band gaps in graphene, Applied Physics Letters, June 2011, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/1.3597412.
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