Tailoring the opto-electronic response of graphene nanoflakes by size and shape optimization†
The long spin-diffusion length, spin-lifetime and excellent optical absorption coefficient of graphene provide an excellent platform for building opto-electronic devices and spin-based logic in a nanometer regime. In this study, by using density functional theory and its time-dependent version, we provide a detailed analysis of how the size and shape of graphene nanoflakes can be used to alter their magnetic structures and optical properties. As the edges of zigzag graphene nanoribbons are known to align anti-ferromagnetically and armchair nanoribbons are typically non-magnetic, a combination of both in a nanoflake geometry can be used to optimize the ground-state magnetic structure and tailor the exchange coupling decisive for ferro- or anti-ferromagnetic edge magnetism, thereby offering the possibility to optimize the external fields needed to switch magnetic ordering. Most importantly, we show that the magnetic state alters the optical response of the flake leading to the possibility of opto-spintronic applications.