Intrinsic Plasmon–Phonon Interactions in Highly Doped Graphene: A Near-Field Imaging Study

F. J. Bezares , A. De Sanctis, J. R. M. Saavedra, A. Woessner, P. Alonso-González, I. Amenabar, J. Chen, T. H. Bointon, S. Dai, M. M. Fogler, D. N. Basov, R. Hillenbrand, M. F. Craciun, F. J. G. de Abajo, S. Russo, and F. H. L. Koppens

Nanoletters 17 (10), 5908–5913 (2017)
As a two-dimensional semimetal, graphene offers clear advantages for plasmonic applications over conventional metals, such as stronger optical field confinement, in situ tunability, and relatively low intrinsic losses. However, the operational frequencies at which plasmons can be excited in graphene are limited by the Fermi energy EF, which in practice can be controlled electrostatically only up to a few tenths of an electronvolt. Higher Fermi energies open the door to novel plasmonic devices with unprecedented capabilities, particularly at mid-infrared and shorter-wave infrared frequencies. In addition, this grants us a better understanding of the interaction physics of intrinsic graphene phonons with graphene plasmons. Here, we present FeCl3-intercalated graphene as a new plasmonic material with high stability under environmental conditions and carrier concentrations corresponding to EF > 1 eV. Near-field imaging of this highly doped form of graphene allows us to characterize plasmons, including their corresponding lifetimes, over a broad frequency range. For bilayer graphene, in contrast to the monolayer system, a phonon-induced dipole moment results in increased plasmon damping around the intrinsic phonon frequency. Strong coupling between intrinsic graphene phonons and plasmons is found, supported by ab initio calculations of the coupling strength, which are in good agreement with the experimental data.