Experimental demonstration of phase modulation and motion sensing using graphene-integrated metasurfaces

Nima Dabidian, Shourya Dutta-Gupta, Iskandar Kholmanov, Kueifu Lai, Feng Lu, Jongwon Lee, Mingzhou Jin, Simeon Trendafilov, Alexander Khanikaev, Babak Fallahazad, Emanuel Tutuc, Mikhail A. Belkin, Gennady Shvets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Strong interaction of graphene with light accounts for one of its most remarkable properties: the ability to absorb 2.3% of the incident light's energy within a single atomic layer. Free carrier injection via field-effect gating can dramatically vary the optical properties of graphene, thereby enabling fast graphene-based modulators of the light intensity. However, the very thinness of graphene makes it difficult to modulate the other fundamental property of the light wave: its optical phase. Here we demonstrate that considerable phase control can be achieved by integrating a single-layer graphene (SLG) with a resonant plasmonic metasurface that contains nanoscale gaps. By concentrating the light intensity inside of the nanogaps, the metasurface dramatically increases the coupling of light to the SLG and enables control of the phase of the reflected mid-infrared light by as much as 55° via field-effect gating. We experimentally demonstrate graphene-based phase modulators that maintain the amplitude of the reflected light essentially constant over most of the phase tuning range. Rapid nonmechanical phase modulation enables a new experimental technique, graphene-based laser interferometry, which we use to demonstrate motion detection with nanoscale precision. We also demonstrate that by the judicious choice of a strongly anisotropic metasurface the graphene-controlled phase shift of light can be rendered polarization-dependent. Using the experimentally measured phases for the two orthogonal polarizations, we demonstrate that the polarization state of the reflected light can be by modulated by carrier injection into the SLG. These results pave the way for novel high-speed graphene-based optical devices and sensors such as polarimeters, ellipsometers, and frequency modulators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3607-3615
Number of pages9
JournalNano Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - 8 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Fano resonance
  • Plasmonic metasurfaces
  • graphene
  • mid-infrared
  • phase modulation
  • polarization modulation


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