Fundamental limits to graphene plasmonics

G. X. Ni, A. S. McLeod, Z. Sun, L. Wang, L. Xiong, K. W. Post, S. S. Sunku, B. Y. Jiang, J. Hone, C. R. Dean, M. M. Fogler, D. N. Basov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Plasmon polaritons are hybrid excitations of light and mobile electrons that can confine the energy of long-wavelength radiation at the nanoscale. Plasmon polaritons may enable many enigmatic quantum effects, including lasing1, topological protection2,3 and dipole-forbidden absorption4. A necessary condition for realizing such phenomena is a long plasmonic lifetime, which is notoriously difficult to achieve for highly confined modes5. Plasmon polaritons in graphene - hybrids of Dirac quasiparticles and infrared photons - provide a platform for exploring light-matter interaction at the nanoscale6,7. However, plasmonic dissipation in graphene is substantial8 and its fundamental limits remain undetermined. Here we use nanometre-scale infrared imaging to investigate propagating plasmon polaritons in high-mobility encapsulated graphene at cryogenic temperatures. In this regime, the propagation of plasmon polaritons is primarily restricted by the dielectric losses of the encapsulated layers, with a minor contribution from electron-phonon interactions. At liquid-nitrogen temperatures, the intrinsic plasmonic propagation length can exceed 10 micrometres, or 50 plasmonic wavelengths, thus setting a record for highly confined and tunable polariton modes. Our nanoscale imaging results reveal the physics of plasmonic dissipation and will be instrumental in mitigating such losses in heterostructure engineering applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)530-533
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume557
Issue number7706
DOIs
StatePublished - May 24 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank A. Charnukha, A. Frenzel, R. Ribeiro-Palau and A. Sternbach for discussions. Research on Dirac quasiparticle dissipation in graphene was supported by DOE-BES DE-SC0018426. Plasmonic nanoscale imaging at cryogenic temperatures was supported by DOE-BES DE-SC0018218. Work on infrared nanoscale antennas and metasurfaces was supported by AFOSR FA9550-15-1-0478. The development of scanning plasmon interferometry was supported by ONR N00014-15-1-2671. Upgrades of the ultrahigh vacuum scanning probe system were supported by ARO grant W911nf-17-1-0543. D.N.B was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation's EPiQS Initiative through Grant GBMF4533. J.H. acknowledges support from ONR N00014-13-1-0662.

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank A. Charnukha, A. Frenzel, R. Ribeiro-Palau and A. Sternbach for discussions. Research on Dirac quasiparticle dissipation in graphene was supported by DOE-BES DE-SC0018426. Plasmonic nanoscale imaging at cryogenic temperatures was supported by DOE-BES DE-SC0018218. Work on infrared nanoscale antennas and metasurfaces was supported by AFOSR FA9550-15-1-0478. The development of scanning plasmon interferometry was supported by ONR N00014-15-1-2671. Upgrades of the ultrahigh vacuum scanning probe system were supported by ARO grant W911nf-17-1-0543. D.N.B was supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation’s EPiQS Initiative through Grant GBMF4533. J.H. acknowledges support from ONR N00014-13-1-0662.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature.

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