Peng Zhang, Nian-Hai Shen, Thomas Koschny, and Costas M. Soukoulis
Graphene, a two-dimensional material possessing extraordinary properties in electronics as well as mechanics, provides a great platform for various optoelectronic and optomechanical devices. Here, we theoretically study the optical gradient force arising from the coupling of surface plasmon modes on parallel graphene sheets, which can be several orders stronger than that between regular dielectric waveguides. Furthermore, with an energy functional optimization model, possible force-induced deformation of graphene sheets is calculated. We show that the significantly enhanced optical gradient force may lead to mechanical state transitions of graphene sheets, which are accompanied by abrupt changes in reflection and transmission spectra of the system. Our demonstrations illustrate the potential for broader graphene-related applications such as force sensors and actuators.