Polariton nanophotonics using phase-change materials

K. Chaudhary, M. Tamagnone, X. Yin, C. M. Spägele, S. L. Oscurato, J. Li, C. Persch, R. Li, N. A. Rubin, L. A. Jauregui, K. Watanabe, T. Taniguchi, P. Kim, M. Wuttig, J. H. Edgar, A. Ambrosio and F. Capasso

Nature Communications 10, 4487 (2019)
Polaritons formed by the coupling of light and material excitations enable light-matter interactions at the nanoscale beyond what is currently possible with conventional optics. However, novel techniques are required to control the propagation of polaritons at the nanoscale and to implement the first practical devices. Here we report the experimental realization of polariton refractive and meta-optics in the mid-infrared by exploiting the properties of low-loss phonon polaritons in isotopically pure hexagonal boron nitride interacting with the surrounding dielectric environment comprising the low-loss phase change material Ge3Sb2Te6. We demonstrate rewritable waveguides, refractive optical elements such as lenses, prisms, and metalenses, which allow for polariton wavefront engineering and sub-wavelength focusing. This method will enable the realization of programmable miniaturized integrated optoelectronic devices and on-demand biosensors based on high quality phonon resonators.