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Active Optical Metasurfaces Based on Defect-Engineered Phase-Transition Materials

J. Rensberg, S. Zhang, Y. Zhou, A. S. McLeod, C. Schwarz, M. Goldflam, M. Liu, J. Kerbusch, R. Nawrodt, S. Ramanathan, D. N. Basov, F. Capasso, C. Ronning, and M. A. Kats

Nano Letters, Article ASAP (2015)
Active, widely tunable optical materials have enabled rapid advances in photonics and optoelectronics, especially in the emerging field of meta-devices. Here, we demonstrate that spatially selective defect engineering on the nanometer scale can transform phase-transition materials into optical metasurfaces. Using ion irradiation through nanometer-scale masks, we selectively defect-engineered the insulator-metal transition of vanadium dioxide, a prototypical correlated phase-transition material whose optical properties change dramatically depending on its state. Using this robust technique, we demonstrated several optical metasurfaces, including tunable absorbers with artificially induced phase coexistence and tunable polarizers based on thermally triggered dichroism. Spatially selective nanoscale defect engineering represents a new paradigm for active photonic structures and devices.