Tunable hyperbolic polaritons with plasmonic phase-change material In3SbTe2

Dunzhu Lu, Ying Zeng, Qizhi Yan, Qiyu Chen, Weiliang Ma, Xiao Luo, Ming Xu, Xiaosheng Yang and Peining Li

Nanophotonics (2024)
Hyperbolic polaritons that originate from the extreme optical anisotropy in van der Waals (vdW) crystals have gained much attention for their potential in controlling nanolight. For practical use, there has been a strong interest to develop various manipulation strategies to customize the propagation of hyperbolic polaritons on a deeply sub-diffractional scale. In this regard, phase-change materials (PCMs) that possess two phases with different refractive indices offer suitably a tunable dielectric environment. Here, we report on the tuning of hyperbolic phonon polaritons in natural vdW crystals, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN), and alpha-phase molybdenum trioxide (α-MoO3), using the plasmonic phase-change material In3SbTe2 (IST). Unlike conventional PCMs whose both phases are dielectric, IST features a metallic crystalline phase that is stable at room temperature. The coupling between polaritons with their mirror charges in the underneath crystalline IST triggers an even stronger field confinement for polaritons. Moreover, benefited from the metallicity of laser-writable crystalline IST, we show an all-optical material platform in which crystalline IST boundaries efficiently excite and focus hyperbolic phonon polaritons in α-MoO3. Our experiments highlight the possibility to obtain new degrees of freedom in polariton engineering with plasmonic PCMs, thereby expanding the toolkit of tunable nanophotonics with flexible, on-demand fabrication and reconfiguration capabilities.