Resonant nanostructures for highly confined and ultra-sensitive surface phonon-polaritons

A. M. Dubrovkin, B. Qiang, T. Salim, D. Nam, N. I. Zheludev and Q. Wang

Nature Communications 11, 1863 (2020)
Plasmonics on metal-dielectric interfaces was widely seen as the main route for miniaturization of components and interconnect of photonic circuits. However recently, ultra-confined surface phonon-polaritonics in high-index chalcogenide films of nanometric thickness has emerged as an important alternative to plasmonics. Here, using mid-IR near-field imaging we demonstrate tunable surface phonon-polaritons in CMOS-compatible interfaces of few-nm thick germanium on silicon carbide. We show that Ge-SiC resonators with nanoscale footprint can support sheet and edge surface modes excited at the free space wavelength hundred times larger than their physical dimensions. Owing to the surface nature of the modes, the sensitivity of real-space polaritonic patterns provides pathway for local detection of the interface composition change at sub-nanometer level. Such deeply subwavelength resonators are of interest for high-density optoelectronic applications, filters, dispersion control and optical delay devices.