We study the optical response of nanoribbons made from the $alpha-T_3$ lattice under a weak magnetic field in the terahertz to far-infrared regime. It is found that the magnetic field can open a gap in the band structure and induce a new absorption peak with much reduced frequency in metallic armchair ribbons and a class of zigzag ribbons with particular boundaries. This tunable magneto-optical modulation effect is attributed to the interband transitions between the flat band and the propagating bands. By contrast, this magnetic modulation of gap opening and optical conductance is much weaker in metallic armchair graphene ribbons (the case of $alpha=0$) in which the flat band is absent. The enhancement in the $alpha-T_3$ model is analytically investigated and explained within the perturbation theory for metallic armchair ribbons. The magnetic field induced valley degeneracy lifting and valley splitting of the absorption peak are also discussed in the case of zigzag ribbons. These findings pave the way for magneto-optics devices based on the $alpha-T_3$ model materials.

Published : "arXiv Mesoscale and Nanoscale Physics".