Reconfigurable infrared hyperbolic metasurfaces using phase change materials

T. G. Folland, A. Fali, S. T. White, J. R. Matson, S. Liu, N. A. Aghamiri, J. H. Edgar, R. F. Haglund Jr., Y. Abate and J. D. Caldwell

Nature Communications 9, 4371 (2018)
Metasurfaces control light propagation at the nanoscale for applications in both free-space and surface-confined geometries. However, dynamically changing the properties of metasurfaces can be a major challenge. Here we demonstrate a reconfigurable hyperbolic metasurface comprised of a heterostructure of isotopically enriched hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) in direct contact with the phase-change material (PCM) single-crystal vanadium dioxide (VO2). Metallic and dielectric domains in VO2 provide spatially localized changes in the local dielectric environment, enabling launching, reflection, and transmission of hyperbolic phonon polaritons (HPhPs) at the PCM domain boundaries, and tuning the wavelength of HPhPs propagating in hBN over these domains by a factor of 1.6. We show that this system supports in-plane HPhP refraction, thus providing a prototype for a class of planar refractive optics. This approach offers reconfigurable control of in-plane HPhP propagation and exemplifies a generalizable framework based on combining hyperbolic media and PCMs to design optical functionality.