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Researchers Learn to Control Graphene with Lasers

May 13, 2015

Linda Vu, +1 510 495 2402, lvu@lbl.gov

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Image by Michael Sentef, Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter.

New numerical simulations by Berkeley Lab Alvarez Fellow Alexander Kemper and his colleagues at Stanford University reveal how the quantum properties of graphene can be manipulated at ultrafast timescales with femtosecond laser pulses.  This work opens a new area of research, where scientists can tune and control material properties with optical laser pulses.

“What’s exciting about these simulations is that we are looking at the constituent properties of matter at their proper timescales. Electrons live at femtosecond time scales, and we can now study how their properties are affected at this timescale,” says Kemper.  “By illuminating them with ultrafast lasers, we can control their conduction properties, with exciting prospects for future devices based on this concept, for example by creating ultrafast switches in a spin-based version of electronic circuits.”

The team’s work was recently published in Nature Communications.