Wide Wavelength Tuning of Optical Antennas on Graphene with Nanosecond Response Time
Graphene is emerging as a broadband optical material which can be dynamically tuned by electrostatic doping. However, the direct application of graphene sheets in optoelectronic devices is challenging due to graphene’s small thickness and the resultant weak interaction with light. By combining metal and graphene in a hybrid plasmonic structure, it is possible to enhance graphene–light interaction and thus achieve in situ control of the optical response. We show that the effective mode index of the bonding plasmonic mode in metal–insulator–metal (MIM) waveguides is particularly sensitive to the change in the optical conductivity of a graphene layer in the gap. By incorporating such MIM structures in optic antenna designs, we demonstrate an electrically tunable coupled antenna array on graphene with a large tuning range (1100 nm, i.e., 250 cm–1, nearly 20% of the resonance frequency) of the antenna resonance wavelength at the mid-infrared (MIR) region. Our device exhibits a 3 dB cutoff frequency of 30 MHz, which can be further increased into the gigahertz range. This study confirms that hybrid metal–graphene structures are promising elements for high-speed electrically controllable optical and optoelectronic devices.