Doping-driven topological polaritons in graphene/α-MoO3 heterostructures

H. Hu, N. Chen, H. Teng, R. Yu, Y. Qu, J. Sun, M. Xue, D. Hu, B. Wu, C. Li, J. Chen, M. Liu, Z. Sun, Y. Liu, P. Li, S. Fan, F. J. García de Abajo and Q. Dai

Nature Nanotechnology 17, 940 (2022)
Control over charge carrier density provides an efficient way to trigger phase transitions and modulate the optoelectronic properties of materials. This approach can also be used to induce topological transitions in the optical response of photonic systems. Here we report a topological transition in the isofrequency dispersion contours of hybrid polaritons supported by a two-dimensional heterostructure consisting of graphene and α-phase molybdenum trioxide. By chemically changing the doping level of graphene, we observed that the topology of polariton isofrequency surfaces transforms from open to closed shapes as a result of doping-dependent polariton hybridization. Moreover, when the substrate was changed, the dispersion contour became dominated by flat profiles at the topological transition, thus supporting tunable diffractionless polariton propagation and providing local control over the optical contour topology. We achieved subwavelength focusing of polaritons down to 4.8% of the free-space light wavelength by using a 1.5-μm-wide silica substrate as an in-plane lens. Our findings could lead to on-chip applications in nanoimaging, optical sensing and manipulation of energy transfer at the nanoscale.