Thursday, January 7, 2016

Abstract-Atomic-scale photonic hybrids for mid-infrared and terahertz nanophotonics

The field of nanophotonics focuses on the ability to confine light to nanoscale dimensions, typically much smaller than the wavelength of light. The goal is to develop light-based technologies that are impossible with traditional optics. Subdiffractional confinement can be achieved using either surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) or surface phonon polaritons (SPhPs). SPPs can provide a gate-tunable, broad-bandwidth response, but suffer from high optical losses; whereas SPhPs offer a relatively low-loss, crystal-dependent optical response, but only over a narrow spectral range, with limited opportunities for active tunability. Here, motivated by the recent results from monolayer graphene and multilayer hexagonal boron nitride heterostructures, we discuss the potential of electromagnetic hybrids — materials incorporating mixtures of SPPs and SPhPs — for overcoming the limitations of the individual polaritons. Furthermore, we also propose a new type of atomic-scale hybrid the crystalline hybrid — where mixtures of two or more atomic-scale (~3 nm or less) polar dielectric materials lead to the creation of a new material resulting from hybridized optic phonon behaviour of the constituents, potentially allowing direct control over the dielectric function. These atomic-scale hybrids expand the toolkit of materials for mid-infrared to terahertz nanophotonics and could enable the creation of novel actively tunable, yet low-loss optics at the nanoscale.

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