Since before the industrial age, graphite materials have played an essential role in daily life: their properties are seen in everything from burning embers to the first electric bulbs. Even as technologies advance, graphite materials continue to pique interest in the human mind. 

One example is graphene, a two-dimensional material with remarkable optical and electronic properties, which has sparked a renewed interest in the field of semiconductor research, particularly in studies of solar energy conversion. Prof. Hrvoje Petek and his research group at the University of Pittsburgh are studying graphene to understand its hot electron dynamics. 

The researchers are particularly interested in how this material can be used to enhance the solar energy conversion process. With the help of Clark-MXR’s IMPULSE fiber laser, equipped with iNOPA, they were able to identify the fundamental properties of graphene and study the utility of the material in several applications. This research has produced two publications thus far, which appeared in Physical Review (DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.7.011004) and the Journal of the American Chemical Society (DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b01079).