In3SbTe2 as a programmable nanophotonics material platform for the infrared

A. Heßler, S. Wahl, T. Leuteritz, A. Antonopoulos, C. Stergianou, C.-F. Schön, L. Naumann, N. Eicker, M. Lewin, T. W. W. Maß, M. Wuttig, S. Linden and T. Taubner

Nature Communications 12, 924 (2021)
The high dielectric optical contrast between the amorphous and crystalline structural phases of non-volatile phase-change materials (PCMs) provides a promising route towards tuneable nanophotonic devices. Here, we employ the next-generation PCM In3SbTe2 (IST) whose optical properties change from dielectric to metallic upon crystallization in the whole infrared spectral range. This distinguishes IST as a switchable infrared plasmonic PCM and enables a programmable nanophotonics material platform. We show how resonant metallic nanostructures can be directly written, modified and erased on and below the meta-atom level in an IST thin film by a pulsed switching laser, facilitating direct laser writing lithography without need for cumbersome multi-step nanofabrication. With this technology, we demonstrate large resonance shifts of nanoantennas of more than 4 µm, a tuneable mid-infrared absorber with nearly 90% absorptance as well as screening and nanoscale “soldering” of metallic nanoantennas. Our concepts can empower improved designs of programmable nanophotonic devices for telecommunications, (bio)sensing and infrared optics, e.g. programmable infrared detectors, emitters and reconfigurable holograms.