Electrically tunable coherent optical absorption in graphene with ion gel.

Research paper by Vrinda V Thareja, Ju-Hyung JH Kang, Hongtao H Yuan, Kaveh M KM Milaninia, Harold Y HY Hwang, Yi Y Cui, Pieter G PG Kik, Mark L ML Brongersma

Indexed on: 12 Feb '15Published on: 12 Feb '15Published in: Nano Letters


We demonstrate electrical control over coherent optical absorption in a graphene-based Salisbury screen consisting of a single layer of graphene placed in close proximity to a gold back reflector. The screen was designed to enhance light absorption at a target wavelength of 3.2 μm by using a 600 nm-thick, nonabsorbing silica spacer layer. An ionic gel layer placed on top of the screen was used to electrically gate the charge density in the graphene layer. Spectroscopic reflectance measurements were performed in situ as a function of gate bias. The changes in the reflectance spectra were analyzed using a Fresnel based transfer matrix model in which graphene was treated as an infinitesimally thin sheet with a conductivity given by the Kubo formula. The analysis reveals that a careful choice of the ionic gel layer thickness can lead to optical absorption enhancements of up to 5.5 times for the Salisbury screen compared to a suspended sheet of graphene. In addition to these absorption enhancements, we demonstrate very large electrically induced changes in the optical absorption of graphene of ∼3.3% per volt, the highest attained so far in a device that features an atomically thick active layer. This is attributable in part to the more effective gating achieved with the ion gel over the conventional dielectric back gates and partially by achieving a desirable coherent absorption effect linked to the presence of the thin ion gel that boosts the absorption by 40%.