Active Control of Micrometer Plasmon Propagation in Suspended Graphene

H. Hu, R. Yu, H. Teng, D. Hu, N. Chen, Y. Qu, X. Yang, X. Chen, A. S. McLeod, P. Alonso-González, X. Guo, C. Li, Z. Yao, Z. Li, J. Chen, Z. Sun, M. Liu, F. J. García de Abajo and Q. Dai

Nature Communications 13, 1465 (2022)
Due to the two-dimensional character of graphene, the plasmons sustained by this material have been invariably studied in supported samples so far. The substrate provides stability for graphene but often causes undesired interactions (such as dielectric losses, phonon hybridization, and impurity scattering) that compromise the quality and limit the intrinsic flexibility of graphene plasmons. Here, we demonstrate the visualization of plasmons in suspended graphene at room temperature, exhibiting high-quality factor Q~33 and long propagation length > 3 μm. We introduce the graphene suspension height as an effective plasmonic tuning knob that enables in situ change of the dielectric environment and substantially modulates the plasmon wavelength, propagation length, and group velocity. Such active control of micrometer plasmon propagation facilitates near-unity-order modulation of nanoscale energy flow that serves as a plasmonic switch with an on-off ratio above 14. The suspended graphene plasmons possess long propagation length, high tunability, and controllable energy transmission simultaneously, opening up broad horizons for application in nano-photonic devices.