My watch list
my.chemeurope.com  
Login  

Photoexcited graphene puzzle solved

A boost for graphene-based light detectors

05-Jun-2018

© Fabien Vialla

Schematic representation of the ultrafast optical pump – terahertz probe experiment, where the optical pump induces electron heating and the terahertz pulse is sensitive to the conductivity of graphene directly after this heating process.

Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for light detectors can offer significant improvements with respect to materials being used nowadays. For example, graphene can detect light of almost any color, and it gives an extremely fast electronic response within one millionth of a millionth of a second. Thus, in order to properly design graphene-based light detectors it is crucial to understand the processes that take place inside the graphene after it absorbs light.

The Mainz-based researchers Dr. Hai Wang, Professor Dmitry Turchinovich, Professor Mathias Kläui, and Professor Mischa Bonn, in collaboration with scientists from various European labs, have now succeeded in understanding these processes. The project was led by Dr. Klaas-Jan Tielrooij from ICFO in Spain, who was recently elected visiting professor at the Materials Science in Mainz (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence.

Published recently in Science Advances, their work gives a thorough explanation of why the graphene conductivity in some cases increases after light absorption while it decreases in others. The researchers were able to show that this behavior correlates with the way in which the energy from the absorbed light flows to the graphene electrons: After light is absorbed by the graphene, the processes through which graphene electrons heat up happen extremely fast and with a very high efficiency.

For highly doped graphene with many free electrons present, ultrafast electron heating leads to carriers with elevated energy, so-called hot carriers. This, in turn, leads to a decrease in conductivity. Interestingly enough, for weakly doped graphene with less free electrons, electron heating leads to the creation of additional free electrons and, thus, an increase in conductivity. These additional carriers are the direct result of the gapless nature of graphene. In gapped materials, electron heating does not lead to additional free carriers.

This simple scenario of light-induced electron heating in graphene can explain many observed effects. Aside from describing the conductive properties of the material after light absorption, it can explain carrier multiplication, where under specific conditions one absorbed light particle, i.e., a photon, can indirectly generate more than one additional free electron and thus create an efficient photo response within a device.

The results of the paper and, in particular, understanding electron heating processes accurately, will definitely mean a great boost in the design and development of graphene-based light detection technology.

Facts, background information, dossiers
  • light detectors
More about Uni Mainz
  • News

    New devices based on rust could reduce excess heat in computers

    Scientists have succeeded in observing the first long-distance transfer of information in a magnetic group of materials known as antiferromagnets. These materials make it possible to achieve computing speeds much faster than existing devices. Conventional devices using current technologies ... more

    A Successful Coupling

    Coupled oxygen transfer and electron transfer reactions that use cofactors are enzymatic reactions of crucial significance to all lifeforms from bacteria to vertebrates. In the European Journal of Inorganic Chemistry, scientists have introduced a model for the enzyme sulfite oxidase. It is ... more

    Scientists develop highly sensitive molecular optical pressure sensor

    Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and at the Université de Montréal in Canada have developed a molecular system capable of very precise optical pressure measurements. The gemstone ruby served as the source of inspiration. However, the system developed by the team headed ... more

More about MPI für Polymerforschung
  • News

    Goodbye, silicon?

    Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz (Germany) together with scientists from Dresden, Leipzig, Sofia (Bulgaria) and Madrid (Spain) have now developed and characterized a novel, metal-organic material which displays electrical properties mimicking thos ... more

    Molecular multitools

    The functionalization of surfaces with different physical or chemical properties is a key challenge for many applications. For example, the defined structuring of a surface with hydrophobic and hydrophilic areas can be used for the separation of emulsions, like water and oil. However, the c ... more

    What happens in a solar cell when the lights go out?

    What happens in a solar cell when the lights go out depends heavily on the material being used. In conventional silicon solar cells the answer is quite simple: the electrical current produced by the cell immediately goes to zero. It is different in so-called perovskite solar cells where the ... more

Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE