• The new findings — using a layer of one-atom-thick graphene deposited on top of a similar 2-D layer of a material called hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) — are published in the journal Nano Letters.
  • Although the two materials are structurally similar — both composed of hexagonal arrays of atoms that form two-dimensional sheets — they each interact with light quite differently. But the researchers found that these interactions can be complementary, and can couple in ways that afford a great deal of control over the behavior of light.
  • The hybrid material blocks light when a particular voltage is applied to the graphene, while allowing a special kind of emission and propagation, called “hyperbolicity,” when a different voltage is applied — a phenomenon not seen before in optical systems, Fang says. One of the consequences of this unusual behavior is that an extremely thin sheet of material can interact strongly with light, allowing beams to be guid

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