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1.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 1465, 2022 Mar 18.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35304465

RESUMEN

Due to the two-dimensional character of graphene, the plasmons sustained by this material have been invariably studied in supported samples so far. The substrate provides stability for graphene but often causes undesired interactions (such as dielectric losses, phonon hybridization, and impurity scattering) that compromise the quality and limit the intrinsic flexibility of graphene plasmons. Here, we demonstrate the visualization of plasmons in suspended graphene at room temperature, exhibiting high-quality factor Q~33 and long propagation length > 3 µm. We introduce the graphene suspension height as an effective plasmonic tuning knob that enables in situ change of the dielectric environment and substantially modulates the plasmon wavelength, propagation length, and group velocity. Such active control of micrometer plasmon propagation facilitates near-unity-order modulation of nanoscale energy flow that serves as a plasmonic switch with an on-off ratio above 14. The suspended graphene plasmons possess long propagation length, high tunability, and controllable energy transmission simultaneously, opening up broad horizons for application in nano-photonic devices.

2.
Nat Commun ; 13(1): 542, 2022 Jan 27.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-35087038

RESUMEN

Excitons play a dominant role in the optoelectronic properties of atomically thin van der Waals (vdW) semiconductors. These excitons are amenable to on-demand engineering with diverse control knobs, including dielectric screening, interlayer hybridization, and moiré potentials. However, external stimuli frequently yield heterogeneous excitonic responses at the nano- and meso-scales, making their spatial characterization with conventional diffraction-limited optics a formidable task. Here, we use a scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscope (s-SNOM) to acquire exciton spectra in atomically thin transition metal dichalcogenide microcrystals with previously unattainable 20 nm resolution. Our nano-optical data revealed material- and stacking-dependent exciton spectra of MoSe2, WSe2, and their heterostructures. Furthermore, we extracted the complex dielectric function of these prototypical vdW semiconductors. s-SNOM hyperspectral images uncovered how the dielectric screening modifies excitons at length scales as short as few nanometers. This work paves the way towards understanding and manipulation of excitons in atomically thin layers at the nanoscale.

3.
Nature ; 594(7864): 513-516, 2021 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34163054

RESUMEN

Dragging of light by moving media was predicted by Fresnel1 and verified by Fizeau's celebrated experiments2 with flowing water. This momentous discovery is among the experimental cornerstones of Einstein's special relativity theory and is well understood3,4 in the context of relativistic kinematics. By contrast, experiments on dragging photons by an electron flow in solids are riddled with inconsistencies and have so far eluded agreement with the theory5-7. Here we report on the electron flow dragging surface plasmon polaritons8,9 (SPPs): hybrid quasiparticles of infrared photons and electrons in graphene. The drag is visualized directly through infrared nano-imaging of propagating plasmonic waves in the presence of a high-density current. The polaritons in graphene shorten their wavelength when propagating against the drifting carriers. Unlike the Fizeau effect for light, the SPP drag by electrical currents defies explanation by simple kinematics and is linked to the nonlinear electrodynamics of Dirac electrons in graphene. The observed plasmonic Fizeau drag enables breaking of time-reversal symmetry and reciprocity10 at infrared frequencies without resorting to magnetic fields11,12 or chiral optical pumping13,14. The Fizeau drag also provides a tool with which to study interactions and nonequilibrium effects in electron liquids.

4.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 1641, 2021 Mar 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33712611

RESUMEN

Quasi-periodic moiré patterns and their effect on electronic properties of twisted bilayer graphene have been intensely studied. At small twist angle θ, due to atomic reconstruction, the moiré superlattice morphs into a network of narrow domain walls separating micron-scale AB and BA stacking regions. We use scanning probe photocurrent imaging to resolve nanoscale variations of the Seebeck coefficient occurring at these domain walls. The observed features become enhanced in a range of mid-infrared frequencies where the hexagonal boron nitride substrate is optically hyperbolic. Our results illustrate the capabilities of the nano-photocurrent technique for probing nanoscale electronic inhomogeneities in two-dimensional materials.

5.
Nat Mater ; 19(4): 397-404, 2020 Apr.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31844275

RESUMEN

The ground-state properties of correlated electron systems can be extraordinarily sensitive to external stimuli, offering abundant platforms for functional materials. Using the multi-messenger combination of atomic force microscopy, cryogenic scanning near-field optical microscopy, magnetic force microscopy and ultrafast laser excitation, we demonstrate both 'writing' and 'erasing' of a metastable ferromagnetic metal phase in strained films of La2/3Ca1/3MnO3 (LCMO) with nanometre-resolved finesse. By tracking both optical conductivity and magnetism at the nanoscale, we reveal how strain-coupling underlies the dynamic growth, spontaneous nanotexture and first-order melting transition of this hidden photoinduced metal. Our first-principles calculations reveal that epitaxially engineered Jahn-Teller distortion can stabilize nearly degenerate antiferromagnetic insulator and ferromagnetic metal phases. We propose a Ginzburg-Landau description to rationalize the co-active interplay of strain, lattice distortions and magnetism nano-resolved here in strained LCMO, thus guiding future functional engineering of epitaxial oxides into the regime of phase-programmable materials.

6.
Nat Commun ; 10(1): 4780, 2019 10 21.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31636265

RESUMEN

Photonic crystals are commonly implemented in media with periodically varying optical properties. Photonic crystals enable exquisite control of light propagation in integrated optical circuits, and also emulate advanced physical concepts. However, common photonic crystals are unfit for in-operando on/off controls. We overcome this limitation and demonstrate a broadly tunable two-dimensional photonic crystal for surface plasmon polaritons. Our platform consists of a continuous graphene monolayer integrated in a back-gated platform with nano-structured gate insulators. Infrared nano-imaging reveals the formation of a photonic bandgap and strong modulation of the local plasmonic density of states that can be turned on/off or gradually tuned by the applied gate voltage. We also implement an artificial domain wall which supports highly confined one-dimensional plasmonic modes. Our electrostatically-tunable photonic crystals are derived from standard metal oxide semiconductor field effect transistor technology and pave a way for practical on-chip light manipulation.

7.
Science ; 362(6419): 1153-1156, 2018 12 07.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30523109

RESUMEN

Graphene is an atomically thin plasmonic medium that supports highly confined plasmon polaritons, or nano-light, with very low loss. Electronic properties of graphene can be drastically altered when it is laid upon another graphene layer, resulting in a moiré superlattice. The relative twist angle between the two layers is a key tuning parameter of the interlayer coupling in thus-obtained twisted bilayer graphene (TBG). We studied the propagation of plasmon polaritons in TBG by infrared nano-imaging. We discovered that the atomic reconstruction occurring at small twist angles transforms the TBG into a natural plasmon photonic crystal for propagating nano-light. This discovery points to a pathway for controlling nano-light by exploiting quantum properties of graphene and other atomically layered van der Waals materials, eliminating the need for arduous top-down nanofabrication.

8.
Sci Adv ; 4(12): eaau9123, 2018 Dec.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30555919

RESUMEN

In conventional metals, charge carriers basically move freely. In correlated electron materials, however, the electrons may become localized because of strong Coulomb interactions, resulting in an insulating state. Despite considerable progress in the last decades, elucidating the driving mechanisms that suppress metallic charge transport, the spatial evolution of this phase transition remains poorly understood on a microscopic scale. Here, we use cryogenic scanning near-field optical microscopy to study the metal-to-insulator transition in an electronically driven charge-ordered system with a 20-nm spatial resolution. In contrast to common mean-field considerations, we observe pronounced phase segregation with a sharp boundary between metallic and insulating regions evidencing its first-order nature. Considerable strain in the crystal spatially modulates the effective electronic correlations within a few micrometers, leading to an extended "zebra" pattern of metallic and insulating stripes. We can directly monitor the spatial strain distribution via a gradual enhancement of the optical conductivity as the energy gap is depressed. Our observations shed new light on previous analyses of correlation-driven metal-insulator transitions.

9.
Nat Commun ; 9(1): 3604, 2018 09 06.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30190517

RESUMEN

Vanadium dioxide (VO2) is a material that undergoes an insulator-metal transition upon heating above 340 K. It remains debated as to whether this electronic transition is driven by a corresponding structural transition or by strong electron-electron correlations. Here, we use apertureless scattering near-field optical microscopy to compare nanoscale images of the transition in VO2 thin films acquired at both mid-infrared and terahertz frequencies, using a home-built terahertz near-field microscope. We observe a much more gradual transition when THz frequencies are utilized as a probe, in contrast to the assumptions of a classical first-order phase transition. We discuss these results in light of dynamical mean-field theory calculations of the dimer Hubbard model recently applied to VO2, which account for a continuous temperature dependence of the optical response of the VO2 in the insulating state.

10.
Nature ; 557(7706): 530-533, 2018 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29795255

RESUMEN

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 lasing 1 , topological protection2,3 and dipole-forbidden absorption 4 . A necessary condition for realizing such phenomena is a long plasmonic lifetime, which is notoriously difficult to achieve for highly confined modes 5 . 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 substantial 8 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.

11.
Nano Lett ; 15(12): 8271-6, 2015 Dec 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26571096

RESUMEN

We report on nano-infrared (IR) imaging studies of confined plasmon modes inside patterned graphene nanoribbons (GNRs) fabricated with high-quality chemical-vapor-deposited (CVD) graphene on Al2O3 substrates. The confined geometry of these ribbons leads to distinct mode patterns and strong field enhancement, both of which evolve systematically with the ribbon width. In addition, spectroscopic nanoimaging in the mid-infrared range 850-1450 cm(-1) allowed us to evaluate the effect of the substrate phonons on the plasmon damping. Furthermore, we observed edge plasmons: peculiar one-dimensional modes propagating strictly along the edges of our patterned graphene nanostructures.

12.
Nat Commun ; 6: 6963, 2015 Apr 22.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25902364

RESUMEN

Uniaxial materials whose axial and tangential permittivities have opposite signs are referred to as indefinite or hyperbolic media. In such materials, light propagation is unusual leading to novel and often non-intuitive optical phenomena. Here we report infrared nano-imaging experiments demonstrating that crystals of hexagonal boron nitride, a natural mid-infrared hyperbolic material, can act as a 'hyper-focusing lens' and as a multi-mode waveguide. The lensing is manifested by subdiffractional focusing of phonon-polaritons launched by metallic disks underneath the hexagonal boron nitride crystal. The waveguiding is revealed through the modal analysis of the periodic patterns observed around such launchers and near the sample edges. Our work opens new opportunities for anisotropic layered insulators in infrared nanophotonics complementing and potentially surpassing concurrent artificial hyperbolic materials with lower losses and higher optical localization.

13.
Nano Lett ; 15(1): 1-7, 2015 Jan 14.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25375874

RESUMEN

This study demonstrates the unique capability of infrared near-field nanoscopy combined with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy to map phase distributions in microcrystals of Li(x)FePO4, a positive electrode material for Li-ion batteries. Ex situ nanoscale IR imaging provides direct evidence for the coexistence of LiFePO4 and FePO4 phases in partially delithiated single-crystal microparticles. A quantitative three-dimensional tomographic reconstruction of the phase distribution within a single microcrystal provides new insights into the phase transformation and/or relaxation mechanism, revealing a FePO4 shell surrounding a diamond-shaped LiFePO4 inner core, gradually shrinking in size and vanishing upon delithiation of the crystal. The observed phase propagation pattern supports recent functional models of LiFePO4 operation relating electrochemical performance to material design. This work demonstrates the remarkable potential of near-field optical techniques for the characterization of electrochemical materials and interfaces.


Asunto(s)
Compuestos de Hierro/química , Compuestos de Litio/química , Fosfatos/química , Espectroscopía Infrarroja por Transformada de Fourier
14.
Nat Commun ; 5: 5445, 2014 Dec 09.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25487365

RESUMEN

Advances in the spatial resolution of modern analytical techniques have tremendously augmented the scientific insight gained from the analysis of natural samples. Yet, while techniques for the elemental and structural characterization of samples have achieved sub-nanometre spatial resolution, infrared spectral mapping of geochemical samples at vibrational 'fingerprint' wavelengths has remained restricted to spatial scales >10 µm. Nevertheless, infrared spectroscopy remains an invaluable contactless probe of chemical structure, details of which offer clues to the formation history of minerals. Here we report on the successful implementation of infrared near-field imaging, spectroscopy and analysis techniques capable of sub-micron scale mineral identification within natural samples, including a chondrule from the Murchison meteorite and a cometary dust grain (Iris) from NASA's Stardust mission. Complementary to scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy probes, this work evidences a similarity between chondritic and cometary materials, and inaugurates a new era of infrared nano-spectroscopy applied to small and invaluable extraterrestrial samples.

15.
Science ; 343(6175): 1125-9, 2014 Mar 07.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24604197

RESUMEN

van der Waals heterostructures assembled from atomically thin crystalline layers of diverse two-dimensional solids are emerging as a new paradigm in the physics of materials. We used infrared nanoimaging to study the properties of surface phonon polaritons in a representative van der Waals crystal, hexagonal boron nitride. We launched, detected, and imaged the polaritonic waves in real space and altered their wavelength by varying the number of crystal layers in our specimens. The measured dispersion of polaritonic waves was shown to be governed by the crystal thickness according to a scaling law that persists down to a few atomic layers. Our results are likely to hold true in other polar van der Waals crystals and may lead to new functionalities.

16.
Nat Nanotechnol ; 8(11): 821-5, 2013 Nov.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24122082

RESUMEN

Graphene, a two-dimensional honeycomb lattice of carbon atoms of great interest in (opto)electronics and plasmonics, can be obtained by means of diverse fabrication techniques, among which chemical vapour deposition (CVD) is one of the most promising for technological applications. The electronic and mechanical properties of CVD-grown graphene depend in large part on the characteristics of the grain boundaries. However, the physical properties of these grain boundaries remain challenging to characterize directly and conveniently. Here we show that it is possible to visualize and investigate the grain boundaries in CVD-grown graphene using an infrared nano-imaging technique. We harness surface plasmons that are reflected and scattered by the graphene grain boundaries, thus causing plasmon interference. By recording and analysing the interference patterns, we can map grain boundaries for a large-area CVD graphene film and probe the electronic properties of individual grain boundaries. Quantitative analysis reveals that grain boundaries form electronic barriers that obstruct both electrical transport and plasmon propagation. The effective width of these barriers (∼10-20 nm) depends on the electronic screening and is on the order of the Fermi wavelength of graphene. These results uncover a microscopic mechanism that is responsible for the low electron mobility observed in CVD-grown graphene, and suggest the possibility of using electronic barriers to realize tunable plasmon reflectors and phase retarders in future graphene-based plasmonic circuits.

17.
Nature ; 487(7405): 82-5, 2012 Jul 05.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22722866

RESUMEN

Surface plasmons are collective oscillations of electrons in metals or semiconductors that enable confinement and control of electromagnetic energy at subwavelength scales. Rapid progress in plasmonics has largely relied on advances in device nano-fabrication, whereas less attention has been paid to the tunable properties of plasmonic media. One such medium--graphene--is amenable to convenient tuning of its electronic and optical properties by varying the applied voltage. Here, using infrared nano-imaging, we show that common graphene/SiO(2)/Si back-gated structures support propagating surface plasmons. The wavelength of graphene plasmons is of the order of 200 nanometres at technologically relevant infrared frequencies, and they can propagate several times this distance. We have succeeded in altering both the amplitude and the wavelength of these plasmons by varying the gate voltage. Using plasmon interferometry, we investigated losses in graphene by exploring real-space profiles of plasmon standing waves formed between the tip of our nano-probe and the edges of the samples. Plasmon dissipation quantified through this analysis is linked to the exotic electrodynamics of graphene. Standard plasmonic figures of merit of our tunable graphene devices surpass those of common metal-based structures.


Asunto(s)
Campos Electromagnéticos , Grafito/química , Rayos Infrarrojos , Nanotecnología/métodos , Microscopía de Fuerza Atómica , Electricidad Estática , Propiedades de Superficie
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