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Tunable Graphene Nanostructures for Plasmon-Enhanced Infrared Spectroscopy (GRYPHON)
Start date: Apr 1, 2014, End date: Mar 31, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Infrared spectroscopy is a powerful technique for bio-chemical analyses and an essential sensing tool in medicine, biology, chemistry, pharmacy and many other disciplines and industries. Surface-enhancing techniques use noble metal nano-structures to induce high field-enhancement and improve the sensitivity of these systems and sensors. Important improvements have been achieved with the optimization of these nano-structures, but it is now clear that enabling a new significant step in performance will require the exploration of new approaches, beyond the mere geometrical optimization of noble metal particles and arrays.This project proposes to use graphene as a new enabling material to improve the sensitivity and versatility of infrared spectroscopy systems and sensors. Beyond the trend to study graphene for virtually any application to determine its potential, current state of research in graphene plasmonics already demonstrates outstanding potential for spectroscopy. Still, the unique electromagnetic properties of graphene have not yet been exploited for surfaced-enhanced infrared absorption.Indeed, graphene nano-structures have the potential to surpass its noble metal counterparts in several aspects. Graphene-based resonators can potentially achieve higher Q-factors than those provided by metal resonators, which in turn would lead to enhanced sensitivities. High Q-factor graphene resonators can be then used for enhanced sensing through new approaches, for instance by taking advantage of the graphene conductivity variation due to analyte-induced doping. New capabilities arise also from the electrostatic tunability of graphene conductivity, which can provide additional capabilities such as wavelength-scanning and spatial-scanning.In summary, graphene-based plasmon-enhanced infrared systems have the potential to reach a versatility degree, sensitivity levels and additional capabilities, that clearly surpass those of current IR surface-enhanced systems.

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