Negative reflection of nanoscale-confined polaritons in a low-loss natural medium

G. Álvarez-Pérez, J. Duan, J. Taboada-Gutiérrez, Q. Ou, E. Nikulina, S. Liu, J. H. Edgar, Q. Bao, V. Giannini, R. Hillenbrand, J. Martín-Sánchez, A. Y. Nikitin and P. Alonso-González

Science Advances 8, abp8486 (2022)
Negative reflection occurs when light is reflected toward the same side of the normal to the boundary from which it is incident. This exotic optical phenomenon is not only yet to be visualized in real space but also remains unexplored, both at the nanoscale and in natural media. Here, we directly visualize nanoscale-confined polaritons negatively reflecting on subwavelength mirrors fabricated in a low-loss van der Waals crystal. Our near-field nanoimaging results unveil an unconventional and broad tunability of both the polaritonic wavelength and direction of propagation upon negative reflection. On the basis of these findings, we introduce a device in nano-optics: a hyperbolic nanoresonator, in which hyperbolic polaritons with different momenta reflect back to a common point source, enhancing the intensity. These results pave way to realize nanophotonics in low-loss natural media, providing an efficient route to control nanolight, a key for future on-chip optical nanotechnologies.