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All-optical generation of surface plasmons in graphene


Surface plasmons in graphene offer a compelling route to many useful photonic technologies. As a plasmonic material, graphene offers several intriguing properties, such as excellent electro-optic tunability, crystalline stability, large optical nonlinearities and extremely high electromagnetic field concentration. As such, recent demonstrations of surface plasmon excitation in graphene using near-field scattering of infrared light have received intense interest. Here we present an all-optical plasmon coupling scheme which takes advantage of the intrinsic nonlinear optical response of graphene. Free-space, visible light pulses are used to generate surface plasmons in a planar graphene sheet using difference frequency wave mixing to match both the wavevector and energy of the surface wave. By carefully controlling the phase matching conditions, we show that one can excite surface plasmons with a defined wavevector and direction across a large frequency range, with an estimated photon efficiency in our experiments approaching $10^{−5}$.

in Nature Physics, volume 12, pages 124–127 (2016)