Terahertz Metamaterials for Linear Polarization Conversion and Anomalous Refraction

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Science  14 Jun 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6138, pp. 1304-1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.1235399

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Converting Polarization

The conversion of a light signal from one polarization direction to another plays an important role in communication and metrology. The components that are presently used for polarization conversion, however, tend to be relatively large, which is an issue that can make it difficult to integrate with chip-scale optoelectronic circuits. Grady et al. (p. 1304, published online 16 May) used a metasurfaces approach involving a designed array of cut wires to manipulate the polarization state of the propagating terahertz signals. Proper design of the device structure allowed for the control of the polarization conversion state for both reflected and transmitted light over a broad frequency range.


Polarization is one of the basic properties of electromagnetic waves conveying valuable information in signal transmission and sensitive measurements. Conventional methods for advanced polarization control impose demanding requirements on material properties and attain only limited performance. We demonstrated ultrathin, broadband, and highly efficient metamaterial-based terahertz polarization converters that are capable of rotating a linear polarization state into its orthogonal one. On the basis of these results, we created metamaterial structures capable of realizing near-perfect anomalous refraction. Our work opens new opportunities for creating high-performance photonic devices and enables emergent metamaterial functionalities for applications in the technologically difficult terahertz-frequency regime.

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