Tunable heterostructural prism for planar polaritonic switch

Yongqian Zhao, Ge Li, Yuyu Yao, Jiancui Chen, Mengfei Xue, Lihong Bao, Kuijuan Jin, Chen Ge, Jianing Chen

Science Bulletin 68,1757 (2023)
The study of phonon polaritons in van der Waals materials at the nanoscale has gained significant attention in recent years due to its potential applications in nanophotonics. The unique properties of these materials, such as their ability to support sub-diffraction imaging, sensing, and hyperlenses, have made them a promising avenue for the development of new techniques in the field. Despite these advancements, there still exists a challenge in achieving dynamically reversible manipulation of phonon polaritons in these materials due to their insulating properties. In this study, we present experimental results on the reversible manipulation of anisotropic phonon polaritons in α-MoO3 on top of a VO2 film, a phase-change material known for its dramatic changes in dielectric properties between its insulating and metallic states. Our findings demonstrate that the engineered VO2 film enables a switch in the propagation of polaritons in the mid-infrared region by modifying the dielectric properties of the film through temperature changes. Our results represent a promising approach to effectively control the flow of light energy at the nanoscale and offer the potential for the design and fabrication of integrated, flat sub-diffraction polaritonic devices. This study adds to the growing body of work in the field of nanophotonics and highlights the importance of considering phase-change materials for the development of new techniques in this field.