Electrical detection of hyperbolic phonon-polaritons in heterostructures of graphene and boron nitride

Achim Woessner, Romain Parret, Diana Davydovskaya, Yuanda Gao, Jhih Sheng Wu, Mark B. Lundeberg, Sébastien Nanot, Pablo Alonso-González, Kenji Watanabe, Takashi Taniguchi, Rainer Hillenbrand, Michael M. Fogler, James Hone, Frank H.L. Koppens*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Light properties in the mid-infrared can be controlled at a deep subwavelength scale using hyperbolic phonons-polaritons of hexagonal boron nitride. While propagating as waveguided modes hyperbolic phonons-polaritons can concentrate the electric field in a chosen nano-volume. Such a behavior is at the heart of many applications including subdiffraction imaging and sensing. Here we employ HPPs in heterostructures of hexagonal boron nitride and graphene as new nano-optoelectronic platform by uniting the benefits of efficient hot-carrier photoconversion in graphene and the hyperbolic nature of hexagonal boron nitride. We demonstrate electrical detection of hyperbolic phonons-polaritons by guiding them towards a graphene pn-junction. We shine a laser beam onto a gap in metal gates underneath the heterostructure, where the light is converted into hyperbolic phonons-polaritons. The hyperbolic phonons-polaritons then propagate as confined rays heating up the graphene leading to a strong photocurrent. This concept is exploited to boost the external responsivity of mid-infrared photodetectors, overcoming the limitation of graphene pn-junction detectors due to their small active area and weak absorption. Moreover this type of detector exhibits tunable frequency selectivity due to the hyperbolic phonons-polaritons, which combined with its high responsivity paves the way for efficient high-resolution mid-infrared imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Journalnpj 2D Materials and Applications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

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