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Graphene Nano-Photonics (GRANOP)
Start date: Aug 1, 2011, End date: Jul 31, 2015 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Graphene, a single-atom layer of carbon, has attracted enormous attention in diverse areas of applied and fundamental physics. Due to its unique crystal structure, the charge carriers have zero effective mass and can therefore travel for micrometers without scattering, even at room temperature. While graphene-based devices have an enormous potential for high-speed electronic devices, it has recently also been recognized as a photonic material for novel optoelectronic applications. Surprisingly, little attention has been devoted to graphene-based nanophotonic applications where optical fields are confined far below the diffraction limit. Due to its ultrasmall thickness and extremely high purity, it supports extremely strong wave localization at the nanoscale (also identified as surface plasmons) with relatively low losses. Moreover, graphene can be tuned from a semiconductor to a metal simply by applying a gate voltage, holding promise for in-situ tuneability of strong light-matter interactions at a length scale far below the wavelength. This makes graphene the ideal material to synergize nano-optics and electronics at the nanoscale.This research will demonstrate the application of graphene as a novel nano-photonic material that outperforms greatly existing photonic materials (cavities and metals). We will engineer ultra-strong and coherent light-matter interactions between single emitters and graphene, and implement several quantum electrodynamics (QED) applications.This research will address fundamentally new phenomena associated to the peculiar properties of graphene, while the development of this novel type of integrated nano-optoelectronic device will enable potential applications ranging from nanoscale (quantum) optical switches and quantum information processing, to super-efficient light collection, and ultra-fast and sensitive sensing of single (bio) molecules.
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