Tunable terahertz amplification based on photoexcited active graphene hyperbolic metamaterials [Invited]

Tianjing Guo, Liang Zhu, Pai Yen Chen, Christos Argyropoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The efficient amplification and lasing of electromagnetic radiation at terahertz (THz) frequencies is a non-trivial task achieved mainly by quantum cascade laser configurations with limited tunability and narrowband functionality. There is a strong need for compact and efficient THz electromagnetic sources with a reconfigurable operation in a broad frequency range. Photoexcited graphene can act as the gain medium to produce coherent radiation at low THz frequencies, but its response is very weak due to its ultrathin thickness. In this work, we demonstrate an alternative design to achieve efficient tunable and compact THz amplifiers and lasers with broadband operation based on active THz hyperbolic metamaterials (HMM) designed by multiple stacked photoexcited graphene layers separated by thin dielectric sheets. The hyperbolic THz response of the proposed ultrathin active HMM is analytically and numerically studied and characterized. When the graphene-based HMM structure is periodically patterned, a broadband slow-wave propagation regime is identified, thanks to the hyperbolic dispersion. In this scenario, reconfigurable amplification of THz waves in a broad frequency range is obtained, which can be made tunable by varying the quasi-Fermi level of graphene. We demonstrate that the THz response of the presented tunable THz amplifiers or lasers is controlled by the incident optical pumping (photodoping) and the loaded dielectric materials in the HMM waveguide array, an interesting property that can have great potential for THz amplification, emission, and sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOptical Materials Express
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials


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