Spin-Optical Metamaterial Route to Spin-Controlled Photonics

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Science  10 May 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6133, pp. 724-726
DOI: 10.1126/science.1234892

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Making Metamaterials

Controlling the propagation of electromagnetic waves is a key requirement in communication technologies. The components tend to be bulky, however, which can make it difficult to integrate with microelectronics circuits. Using arrays of metallic nanoantennae patterned on a substrate surface, Shitrit et al. (p. 724) fabricated a novel class of metamaterials: anisotropic materials without inversion symmetry. The materials may pave the way to polarization-dependent nanophotonics.


Spin optics provides a route to control light, whereby the photon helicity (spin angular momentum) degeneracy is removed due to a geometric gradient onto a metasurface. The alliance of spin optics and metamaterials offers the dispersion engineering of a structured matter in a polarization helicity–dependent manner. We show that polarization-controlled optical modes of metamaterials arise where the spatial inversion symmetry is violated. The emerged spin-split dispersion of spontaneous emission originates from the spin-orbit interaction of light, generating a selection rule based on symmetry restrictions in a spin-optical metamaterial. The inversion asymmetric metasurface is obtained via anisotropic optical antenna patterns. This type of metamaterial provides a route for spin-controlled nanophotonic applications based on the design of the metasurface symmetry properties.

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