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Title: Plasmonically enhanced mid-IR light source based on tunable spectrally and directionally selective thermal emission from nanopatterned graphene

We present a proof of concept for a spectrally selective thermal mid-IR source based on nanopatterned graphene (NPG) with a typical mobility of CVD-grown graphene (up to 3000$$\hbox {cm}^2\,\hbox {V}^{-1}\,\hbox {s}^{-1}$$cm2V-1s-1), ensuring scalability to large areas. For that, we solve the electrostatic problem of a conducting hyperboloid with an elliptical wormhole in the presence of anin-planeelectric field. The localized surface plasmons (LSPs) on the NPG sheet, partially hybridized with graphene phonons and surface phonons of the neighboring materials, allow for the control and tuning of the thermal emission spectrum in the wavelength regime from$$\lambda =3$$λ=3to 12$$\upmu$$μm by adjusting the size of and distance between the circular holes in a hexagonal or square lattice structure. Most importantly, the LSPs along with an optical cavity increase the emittance of graphene from about 2.3% for pristine graphene to 80% for NPG, thereby outperforming state-of-the-art pristine graphene light sources operating in the near-infrared by at least a factor of 100. According to our COMSOL calculations, a maximum emission power per area of$$11\times 10^3$$11×103W/$$\hbox {m}^2$$m2at$$T=2000$$T=2000K for a bias voltage of$$V=23$$V=23V is achieved by controlling the temperature of the hot electrons through the Joule heating. By generalizing Planck’s theory to any grey body and deriving more » the completely general nonlocal fluctuation-dissipation theorem with nonlocal response of surface plasmons in the random phase approximation, we show that the coherence length of the graphene plasmons and the thermally emitted photons can be as large as 13$$\upmu$$μm and 150$$\upmu$$μm, respectively, providing the opportunity to create phased arrays made of nanoantennas represented by the holes in NPG. The spatial phase variation of the coherence allows for beamsteering of the thermal emission in the range between$$12^\circ$$12and$$80^\circ$$80by tuning the Fermi energy between$$E_F=1.0$$EF=1.0eV and$$E_F=0.25$$EF=0.25eV through the gate voltage. Our analysis of the nonlocal hydrodynamic response leads to the conjecture that the diffusion length and viscosity in graphene are frequency-dependent. Using finite-difference time domain calculations, coupled mode theory, and RPA, we develop the model of a mid-IR light source based on NPG, which will pave the way to graphene-based optical mid-IR communication, mid-IR color displays, mid-IR spectroscopy, and virus detection.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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