Transverse Hypercrystals Formed by Periodically Modulated Phonon Polaritons

H. Herzig Sheinfux, M. Jung, L. Orsini, M. Ceccanti, A. Mahalanabish, D. Martinez-Cercós, I. Torre, D. Barcons Ruiz, E. Janzen, J. H. Edgar, V. Pruneri, G. Shvets and F. H. L. Koppens

ACS Nano (2023)
Photonic crystals and metamaterials are two overarching paradigms for manipulating light. By combining these approaches, hypercrystals can be created, which are hyperbolic dispersion metamaterials that undergo periodic modulation and mix photonic-crystal-like aspects with hyperbolic dispersion physics. Despite several attempts, there has been limited experimental realization of hypercrystals due to technical and design constraints. In this work, hypercrystals with nanoscale lattice constants ranging from 25 to 160 nm were created. The Bloch modes of these crystals were then measured directly using scattering near-field microscopy. The dispersion of the Bloch modes was extracted from the frequency dependence of the Bloch modes, revealing a clear switch from positive to negative group velocity. Furthermore, spectral features specific to hypercrystals were observed in the form of sharp density of states peaks, which are a result of intermodal coupling and should not appear in ordinary polaritonic crystals with an equivalent geometry. These findings are in agreement with theoretical predictions that even simple lattices can exhibit a rich hypercrystal bandstructure. This work is of both fundamental and practical interest, providing insight into nanoscale light-matter interactions and the potential to manipulate the optical density of states.