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Posted: Jun 22, 2012
Scientists control light at a nanoscale with graphene
(Nanowerk News) Basque research groups are part of the scientific team which has, for the first time, trapped and confined light in graphene, an achievement which constitutes the most promising candidacy to process optic information at nanometric scales and which could open the door to a new generation of nano-sensors with applications in medicine, energy and computing.
The Cooperative Research Centre nanoGUNE, along with the Institute of Physical Chemistry “Rocasolano” (Madrid) and the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Barcelona), have led a study which opens an entirely new field of research and provides a viable avenue to manipulate light in an ultra rapid manner, something that was not possible until now.
Lab at CIC nanoGUNE
Other Basque research centres, like the Physical Materials centre CFM-CSIC-UPV/EHU, the Donostia International Physics Center (DIPC), as well as the Ikerbasque Foundation and the Graphenea company, have also collaborated in the research which has been published in the prestigious science magazine Nature ("Optical nano-imaging of gate-tunable graphene plasmons").
The scientists implicated in this study have managed to, for the first time, see guided light with nanometric precision on graphene, a material made up by a layer of carbon with a thickness of only an atom. This display proves what theoretical physicists had predicted for some time: that it is possible to trap and manipulate light in a very efficient way using graphene as a new platform to process optic information and for ultra-sensitive detection.
This ability to trap light in extraordinarily small volumes could shed light on a new generation of nano-sensors with applications in several areas such as medicine, bio-detection, solar cells and light sensors, as well as processors of quantum information.