IBM researchers have developed a graphene-based infrared detector, driven by intrinsic plasmons. This new design proved to be much more photo-responsive compared to non-plasmonic graphene detectors.

The researchers used CVD to grow graphene on copper foil. The copper was etched away and the graphene sheet was transferred to a silicon/silicon-oxide chip. The researchers patterned graphene ribbons (widths of 80 to 200 nm).

Graphene is less useful than a semiconductor to detect light in the visible range, but in the infra-red range (and also in the terahertz range) graphene is very good as its high mobility and zero gap nature gives it fast optoelectronic response and detection.

IBM has been studying how plasmons lose their energy in graphene, and in April 2013 they discovered that plasmons lose their energy very slowly in graphene, which is good for photonics and quantum optics applications.