News and events


The GRAPHENICS project ended in April 2017. The final Review Meeting took place on the 23rd of June 2017 at the EC in Brussels. The Reviewers and Project Officer concluded that, notwithstanding the challenging nature of this research project, it has been finalized in a very successful way, so the GRAPHENICS consortium is very pleased with this outcome! 


FET ‘Young Explorers’ demonstrate graphene’s dual role in broadband light generation

Efficient spectral broadening of light in compact graphene-covered photonic chips has recently been successfully demonstrated in the frame of GRAPHENICS, an FP7 FET ‘Young Explorers’ project. The early-career GRAPHENICS researchers unveiled unexpected features in graphene’s nonlinear optical behaviour, playing a crucial role in the generation of spectrally broadband light on a chip.

Broadband light sources are devices that emit high-intensity light over a wide range colours or wavelengths and could strongly impact various aspects of people’s daily lives. For example, broadband sources that generate mid-infrared light would allow for non-invasive all-optical monitoring of the glucose level of diabetes patients, so that pricking one’s finger is no longer needed. If furthermore these light sources can be made sufficiently compact, one could envisage integrating them in a “smart watch” which would allow the diabetes patients to assess their glucose levels at all times.

To realize such a compact light source, the GRAPHENICS young explorers, affiliated to the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), the Institute of Electronic Materials Technology (Poland), Vienna University of Technology (Austria) and University of Toronto (Canada), developed a graphene-covered photonic chip to generate the broadband light, and succeeded in constructing a small-sized mid-infrared pump laser for exciting the chip. The introduction of a 2D atomic layer of graphene - a material with unusual nonlinear optical properties - on silicon nitride waveguide chips contributed to creating the desired wavelengths. The GRAPHENICS research team also observed, however, that when placing the same material on silicon waveguide chips as shown here in the figure, the graphene counteracted the generation of new wavelengths rather than enhancing it. This unexpected dual behavior of graphene was found to be the result of the unusual negative sign of graphene’s nonlinear optical coefficient, in stark contrast with the positive sign one had so far assumed. 

These new insights have enabled the GRAPHENICS team to optimally exploit graphene’s unique nonlinear optical properties in their pursuit for optimal on-chip broadband light emission and currently open up new horizons for the realization of other graphene-based nonlinear optical devices. Further information is available in the paper [N. Vermeulen, Phys. Rev. Appl. 6, 044006 (2016)] published in Physical Review Applied. In addition, other GRAPHENICS research findings on the practical realization of the graphene-covered photonic chips and the pump laser exciting the chips can be found here on the project website.

This news item has also been published in the Newsletter of the EC Digital Excellence & Science Infrastructure Directorate:


05/12/2013: Kick-off meeting with all consortium partners at VUB (Belgium)

06/05/2014 - 09/05/2014: Researchers from VUB, ITME and UofT attend the Graphene2014 conference in Toulouse (France)

01/07/2014: Consortium meeting at ITME (Poland)

28-29/01/2015: Review Meeting and consortium meeting at VUB (Belgium)

10/07/2015: Consortium meeting at ITME (Poland)

11/12/2015: Consortium meeting at TUW (Austria)

04/07/2016: Consortium meeting at ITME (Poland)

02/12/2016: Consortium meeting at TUW (Austria)

26-27/01/2017: Review meeting and consortium meeting in Brussels

23/06/2017: Final Review meeting in Brussels