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We bring together two areas of terahertz (THz) technology that have benefited from recent advancements in research, i.e., graphene, a material that has plasmonic resonances in the THz frequency, and quantum cascade lasers (QCLs), a compact electrically driven unipolar source of THz radiation. We demonstrate the use of single-layer large-area graphene to indirectly modulate a THz QCL operating at 2.0 THz. By tuning the Fermi level of the graphene via a capacitively coupled backgate voltage, the optical conductivity and, hence, the THz transmission can be varied. We show that, by changing the pulsing frequency of the backgate, the THz transmission can be altered. We also show that, by varying the pulsing frequency of the backgate from tens of Hz to a few kHz, the amplitude-modulated THz signal can be switched by 15% from a “low” state to a “high” state.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2012