In Summary

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology have revealed an exciting new development in optical data storage, imaging and telecommunication.

Working with an international team of researchers from Australia, China and the US, they have demonstrated the potential to combine electronics and photonics on the same platform – namely graphene.

Graphene is pure carbon in the form of a very thin, nearly transparent sheet, one atom thick. Its unique lattice structure makes it an exceptional electrical conductor.

Graphene provides a good platform for electrons as well as surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs). These are electromagnetic waves that travel along a metal-air interface and can be guided along this interface in much the same way that light can be guided by an optical fibre.

For the first time the researchers have demonstrated these electromagnetic waves in graphene at telecommunication wavelength.

"What we discovered demonstrates the potential of combining electronics and photonics on the same platform,” Director of Swinburne’s Centre for Micro-Photonics, Professor Min Gu said.

“This discovery paves the way for further research into the next generation of optical chip design and optical data storage.”

The research has been published in Scientific Reports.

It was undertaken by Swinburne researchers Dr Qiming Zhang, Dr Xiangping Li, Dr Md Muntasir Hossain, Dr Mark Turner and Professor Min Gu together with researchers from Stanford University in the USA, Monash University in Australia and Soochow University in China.

This research has been funded under the Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship program