Terahertz (THz) frequency technology has many potential applications in nondestructive imaging, spectroscopic sensing, and high-bit-rate free-space communications, with an optical modulator being a key component. However, it has proved challenging to achieve high-speed modulation with a high modulation depth across a broad bandwidth of THz frequencies. Here, we demonstrate that a monolithically integrated graphene modulator can efficiently modulate the light intensity of the THz radiation from a THz quantum cascade laser with a 100% modulation depth for certain region of the pumping current, as a result of the strongly enhanced interaction between the laser field and the graphene enabled by this integration scheme. Moreover, the small area of the resulting device in comparison to existing THz modulators enables a faster modulation speed, greater than 100 MHz, which can be further improved through optimized designs of the laser cavity and modulator architectures. Furthermore, as the graphene absorption spectrum is broadband in nature, our integration scheme can be readily scaled to other wavelength regions, such as the mid-infrared, and applied to a broad range of other optoelectronic devices.
- 100 percent modulation depth
- integrated photonics
- quantum cascade laser
- terahertz modulator
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering