Inducing activity in flat optics

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Science  27 Jan 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6323, pp. 364-365
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6323.364-c

It is now possible to manipulate the phase and amplitude of propagating light with carefully designed subwavelength features patterned into thin layers of metal and dielectric films. These metasurfaces offer the possibility to control light with optical devices that are orders of magnitude smaller than the familiar bulk optical components of lenses and mirrors. Using a specially prepared silicon-based grating structure covered with indium tin oxide (a commonly used transparent conducting oxide), Kim and Brongersma showed that gating the structure with applied voltage can reversibly change the surface from nearly transparent to reflective. Being able to electrically switch the properties of the metasurface provides additional functionality for developing active nanophotonic devices based on a flat optics platform.

Opt. Lett. 42, 5 (2017).

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