Researchers from the DOE's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) demonstrated that point defects in graphene are helpful in transferring atomic-scale data by integrating electrons with light. This could pave the way towards faster and smaller electronic devices. The team created the point defects by placing silicon atoms instead of carbon atoms. A two-atom silicon wire in graphene is capable of transforming light into an electronic signal and then converting the signal again into light.
The team says that the silicon atoms operate like atomic-scale antennae, thus improving graphene’s local surface plasmon response and forming an atomic-scale prototypical plasmonic device. The electron microscope used for the study is a component of the Shared Research Equipment User Facility of ORNL.