Infrared hyperbolic metasurface based on nanostructured van der Waals materials

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Science  23 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6378, pp. 892-896
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaq1704

Patterning a hyperbolic metasurface

Structured metasurfaces potentially enable the control of the propagation direction of excitations on the material's surface. However, the high losses associated with the materials used to date has led to relatively short lifetimes for the excitations. Li et al. patterned a subwavelength grating into a layer of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) and found that the lifetime and propagation length of the excitations could be much longer. Direct imaging of the polariton excitations illustrates that hBN can be a viable platform for nanophotonic circuits.

Science, this issue p. 892


Metasurfaces with strongly anisotropic optical properties can support deep subwavelength-scale confined electromagnetic waves (polaritons), which promise opportunities for controlling light in photonic and optoelectronic applications. We developed a mid-infrared hyperbolic metasurface by nanostructuring a thin layer of hexagonal boron nitride that supports deep subwavelength-scale phonon polaritons that propagate with in-plane hyperbolic dispersion. By applying an infrared nanoimaging technique, we visualize the concave (anomalous) wavefronts of a diverging polariton beam, which represent a landmark feature of hyperbolic polaritons. The results illustrate how near-field microscopy can be applied to reveal the exotic wavefronts of polaritons in anisotropic materials and demonstrate that nanostructured van der Waals materials can form a highly variable and compact platform for hyperbolic infrared metasurface devices and circuits.

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