Frequency conversion with nonlinear graphene photodetectors
Frequency conversion with nonlinear electronic components, a common approach for signal processing required in various communication applications, has found its operation bandwidth bottleneck due to the limited carrier mobility of the traditional materials. Meanwhile, fiber-optics communications are playing a significant role in communication services due to their excellent signal transmission properties. However, the transmitted optical signals had to be converted to electrical signals with photodetectors before frequency conversion was performed through conventional electronic devices, which make this conversion system very complex and costly. Hence, to develop a compact device that can achieve the photodetection and frequency conversion functions simultaneously is critical and significative. Here, we have proposed a novel concept for frequency conversion and demonstrated a nonlinear graphene photodetector based frequency converter that performs frequency conversion from optical signals directly. With this new concept, a frequency doubling signal at 4 GHz was obtained from a 2 GHz intensity-modulated optical signal. Moreover, using a 10 MHz intensity-modulated optical signal and another 3 GHz intensity-modulated optical signal, we show the frequency up-conversion to 3 ± 0.01 GHz. In particular, the frequency down-conversion to 100 MHz was achieved successfully by using a 2 GHz intensity-modulated optical signal and another 2.1 GHz intensity-modulated optical signal. Considering the broadband optical absorption, strong saturable absorption, high carrier mobility, and short photogenerated carrier lifetime of the graphene material, graphene photodetectors have the potential to achieve the frequency conversion of millimeter-wave band, which will open promising prospects in the domain of microwave photonics for next-gen communication systems.