A mid-infrared biaxial hyperbolic van der Waals crystal

Z. Zheng, N. Xu, S. L. Oscurato, M. Tamagnone, F. Sun, Y. Jiang, Y. Ke, J. Chen, W. Huang, W. L. Wilson, A. Ambrosio, S. Deng and H. Chen

Science Advances 5, eaav8690 (2019)
Hyperbolic media have attracted much attention in the photonics community due to their ability to confine light to arbitrarily small volumes and their potential applications to super-resolution technologies. The two-dimensional counterparts of these media can be achieved with hyperbolic metasurfaces that support in-plane hyperbolic guided modes upon nanopatterning, which, however, poses notable fabrication challenges and limits the achievable confinement. We show that thin flakes of a van der Waals crystal, α-MoO3, can support naturally in-plane hyperbolic polariton guided modes at mid-infrared frequencies without the need for patterning. This is possible because α-MoO3 is a biaxial hyperbolic crystal with three different Reststrahlen bands, each corresponding to a different crystalline axis. These findings can pave the way toward a new paradigm to manipulate and confine light in planar photonic devices.