A collaborative work published in Science shows how electrons surf the waves of light on graphene

Rainer Hillenbrand

Researchers from ICFO, IIT, Columbia University and CIC nanoGUNE, including Ikerbasque Research Professor Rainer Hillenbrand, have studied how light can be used to “see” the quantum nature of an electronic material. They managed to do that by capturing light in a net of carbon atoms and slowing down light that it moves almost as slow as the electrons in the graphene. Then, something special happens: electrons and light start to move in concert, unveiling their quantum nature at such large scale that it could be observed with a special type of microscope. The work has been published in Science titled “Tuning quantum nonlocal effects in graphene plasmonics”. 

This technique paves now the way for exploring many new types of quantum materials, including superconductors where electricity can flow without energy consumption, or topological materials.  Ikerbasque Research Professor at CIC nanoGUNE Rainer Hillenbrand states that “this could just be the beginning of a new era of near field nanoscopy”.

DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2735

(Photo: CIC nanoGUNE)