Graphene sets the stage for the next generation of THz astronomy detectors
Phys.org - Wed 11 Sep 13:02 GMT

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology have demonstrated a detector made from graphene that could revolutionize the sensors used in next-generation space telescopes. The findings were recently published in the scientific journal Nature Astronomy.

  Chalmers researchers have shown that engineered graphene adds a new material paradigm for THz heterodyne detection.

  Our results show that graphene is an exceptionally good material for THz heterodyne detection when doped to the Dirac point," says Samuel Lara-Avila, assistant professor at the Quantum Device Physics Laboratory and lead author of the paper.

  Sergey Cherednichenko, professor at the Terahertz and Millimetre Wave Laboratory and co-author of the paper, says, "According to our theoretical model, this graphene THz detector has a potential to reach quantum-limited operation for the important 1-5 THz spectral range.

  VIDEO Another crucial aspect for the graphene THz detector is the extremely low power needed for the local oscillator to achieve a trustable detection of faint THz signals, few orders of magnitude lower than superconductors require.

  Sergey Kubatkin, professor at the Quantum Device Physics Laboratory and co-author of the paper, explains: "The core of the THz detector is the system of graphene and molecular assemblies.

  information: S. Lara-Avila et al, Towards quantum-limited coherent detection of terahertz waves in charge-neutral graphene, Nature Astronomy (2019).