Optical spectroscopy of graphene: From the far infrared to the ultraviolet

Kin Fai Mak, Long Ju, Feng Wang, Tony F. Heinz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

601 Citations (SciVal)


The unique electronic structure of graphene leads to several distinctive optical properties. In this brief review, we outline the current understanding of two general aspects of optical response of graphene: optical absorption and light emission. We show that optical absorption in graphene is dominated by intraband transitions at low photon energies (in the far-infrared spectral range) and by interband transitions at higher energies (from mid-infrared to ultraviolet). We discuss how the intraband and interband transitions in graphene can be modified through electrostatic gating. We describe plasmonic resonances arising from the free-carrier (intraband) response and excitonic effects that are manifested in the interband absorption. Light emission, the reverse process of absorption, is weak in graphene due to the absence of a band gap. We show that photoluminescence from hot electrons can, however, become observable either through femtosecond laser excitation or strong electrostatic gating.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1341-1349
Number of pages9
JournalSolid State Communications
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Materials Chemistry


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