Engineering phonon polaritons in van der Waals heterostructures to enhance in-plane optical anisotropy
K. Chaudhary, M. Tamagnone, M. Rezaee, D. K. Bediako, A. Ambrosio, P. Kim and F. Capasso
Science Advances 5, eaau7171 (2019)
an der Waals (vdW) heterostructures assembled from layers of two-dimensional materials have attracted considerable interest due to their novel optical and electrical properties. Here, we report a scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy study of hexagonal boron nitride on black phosphorus (h-BN/BP) heterostructures, demonstrating the first direct observation of in-plane anisotropic phonon polariton modes in vdW heterostructures. Notably, the measured in-plane optical anisotropy along the armchair and zigzag crystal axes exceeds the ratio of refractive indices of BP in the x-y plane. We explain that this enhancement is due to the high confinement of the phonon polaritons in h-BN. We observe a maximum in-plane optical anisotropy of αmax = 1.25 in the frequency spectrum at 1405 to 1440 cm−1. These results provide new insights into the behavior of polaritons in vdW heterostructures, and the observed anisotropy enhancement paves the way to novel nanophotonic devices and to a new way to characterize optical anisotropy in thin films.