Internal nanostructure diagnosis with hyperbolic phonon polaritons in hexagonal boron nitride

S. Dai, M. Tymchenko, Z.-Quan Xu, T. Trong Tran, Y. Yang, Q. Ma, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, P. Jarillo-Herrero, I. Aharonovich, D. N. Basov, T. Tao and A. Alu

Nanoletters, Article ASAP (2018)
Imaging materials and inner structures with resolution below the diffraction limit has become of fundamental importance in recent years for a wide variety of applications. We report subdiffractive internal structure diagnosis of hexagonal boron nitride by exciting and imaging hyperbolic phonon polaritons. On the basis of their unique propagation properties, we are able to accurately locate defects in the crystal interior with nanometer resolution. The precise location, size, and geometry of the concealed defects are reconstructed by analyzing the polariton wavelength, reflection coefficient, and their dispersion. We have also studied the evolution of polariton reflection, transmission, and scattering as a function of defect size and photon frequency. The nondestructive high-precision polaritonic structure diagnosis technique introduced here can be also applied to other hyperbolic or waveguide systems and may be deployed in the next-generation biomedical imaging, sensing, and fine structure analysis.