Researchers at Purdue University, the University of Michigan and Pennsylvania State University have combined graphene with a (comparatively much larger) silicon carbide substrate, creating graphene field-effect transistors which can be activated by light. This may lead to the development of highly sensitive graphene-based optical devices, an advance that could bring applications from imaging and displays to sensors and high-speed communications.
A typical problem of graphene-based photodetectors is that they have only a small area that is sensitive to light, limiting their performance. “In typical graphene-based photodetectors demonstrated so far, the photoresponse only comes from specific locations near graphene over an area much smaller than the device size,” the team said. “However, for many optoelectronic device applications, it is desirable to obtain photoresponse and positional sensitivity over a much larger area”. The researchers tackled exactly this in their new work.