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  1. We demonstrate a free-space optical communication link with an optical transmitter that harvests naturally occurring Planck radiation from a warm body and modulates the emitted intensity. The transmitter exploits an electro-thermo-optic effect in a multilayer graphene device that electrically controls the surface emissivity of the device resulting in control of the intensity of the emitted Planck radiation. We design an amplitude-modulated optical communication scheme and provide a link budget for communications data rate and range based on our experimental electro-optic characterization of the transmitter. Finally, we present an experimental demonstration achieving error-free communications at 100 bits per second over laboratory scales.

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  2. We demonstrate a substantial modulation of the optical properties of multilayer graphene (∼100 layers) using a simple device consisting of a multilayer graphene/polymer electrolyte membrane/gold film stack. Applying a voltage of 3–4 V drives the intercalation of anion [TFSI]− [ion liquid diethylmethyl(2-methoxyethyl)ammonium bis(trifluoromethylsulfonyl)imide [DEME][TFSI]] resulting in the reversible modulation of the properties of this optically dense material. Upon intercalation, we observe an abrupt shift of 35 cm−1 in the G band Raman mode, an abrupt increase in FTIR reflectance over the wavelength range from 1.67 to 5 μm (2000–6000 cm−1), and an abrupt increase in luminescent background observed in the Raman spectra of graphene. All of these abrupt changes in the optical properties of this material arise from the intercalation of the TFSI− ion and the associated change in the free carrier density (Δn = 1020 cm−3). Suppression of the 2D band Raman mode observed around 3 V corresponds to Pauli blocking of the double resonance Raman process and indicates a modulation of the Fermi energy of ΔEF = 1.1 eV.

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