As reported by the Institute of Physics, researchers believe they have found a perfect absorber of light, in the infrared range of the spectrum. This could be very useful for light sensors that operate in this part of the spectrum. The material is one we’ve already come to know and love; graphene. That’s right; our atom-thick friend is at it again, being a miracle material.
The researchers found this form of carbon can absorb light by being carefully arranged in nanodiscs. Provided there is a voltage across the disks, incoming light will be absorbed as it becomes trapped in areas hundreds of times smaller than the wavelength. Key to this are plasmons; quasi-particles that actually represent the interaction between an electron and a photon. Controlling the charge on the disks affects what wavelengths are absorbed, as the charge is directly related to the electrons on the graphene disks.
The researchers wish to examine other materials and explore other frequency ranges. There is a need for good infrared light absorbers, as the current absorbers are not all that great. Potentially new and advanced infrared cameras and sensors, or even solar cells could be developed based on this work.