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An electromechanically reconfigurable plasmonic metamaterial operating in the near-infrared

An electromechanically reconfigurable plasmonic metamaterial operating in the near-infrared
An electromechanically reconfigurable plasmonic metamaterial operating in the near-infrared
Current efforts in metamaterials research focus on dynamic functionalities such as tunability, switching and modulation of electromagnetic waves. To this end, various approaches have appeared, including embedded varactors, phase-change media, use of liquid crystals, electrical modulation with graphene and superconductors, and carrier injection or depletion in semiconductor substrates. However, tuning, switching and modulating metamaterial properties in the visible and near-infrared range remain major technological challenges: the existing microelectromechanical solutions for the subTHz and THz regimes cannot be shrunk by 2-3 orders of magnitude to enter the optical spectral range. Here we develop a new type of metamaterial operating in the optical part of the spectrum which is 3 orders of magnitude faster than previously reported electrically reconfigurable metamaterials. The metamaterial is actuated by electrostatic forces arising from the application of only a few volts to its nanoscale building blocks, the plasmonic metamolecules, which are supported by pairs of parallel strings cut from a nanoscale thickness flexible silicon nitride membrane. These strings of picogram mass can be synchronously driven to megahertz frequencies to electromechanically reconfigure the metamolecules and dramatically change the metamaterial’s transmission and reflection spectra. The metamaterial’s colossal electro-optical response allows for both fast continuous tuning of its optical properties (up to 8% optical signal modulation at up to megahertz rates) and high-contrast irreversible switching in a device of only 100 nm thickness without the need for external polarizers and analyzers.
1748-3387
252-255
Ou, Jun-Yu
3fb703e3-b222-46d2-b4ee-75f296d9d64d
Plum, Eric
50761a26-2982-40df-9153-7aecc4226eb5
Zhang, Jianfa
7ce15288-2016-4b9c-8244-7aed073363ca
Zheludev, Nikolay I.
32fb6af7-97e4-4d11-bca6-805745e40cc6
Ou, Jun-Yu
3fb703e3-b222-46d2-b4ee-75f296d9d64d
Plum, Eric
50761a26-2982-40df-9153-7aecc4226eb5
Zhang, Jianfa
7ce15288-2016-4b9c-8244-7aed073363ca
Zheludev, Nikolay I.
32fb6af7-97e4-4d11-bca6-805745e40cc6

Ou, Jun-Yu, Plum, Eric, Zhang, Jianfa and Zheludev, Nikolay I. (2013) An electromechanically reconfigurable plasmonic metamaterial operating in the near-infrared. Nature Nanotechnology, 8 (4), 252-255. (doi:10.1038/NNANO.2013.25).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Current efforts in metamaterials research focus on dynamic functionalities such as tunability, switching and modulation of electromagnetic waves. To this end, various approaches have appeared, including embedded varactors, phase-change media, use of liquid crystals, electrical modulation with graphene and superconductors, and carrier injection or depletion in semiconductor substrates. However, tuning, switching and modulating metamaterial properties in the visible and near-infrared range remain major technological challenges: the existing microelectromechanical solutions for the subTHz and THz regimes cannot be shrunk by 2-3 orders of magnitude to enter the optical spectral range. Here we develop a new type of metamaterial operating in the optical part of the spectrum which is 3 orders of magnitude faster than previously reported electrically reconfigurable metamaterials. The metamaterial is actuated by electrostatic forces arising from the application of only a few volts to its nanoscale building blocks, the plasmonic metamolecules, which are supported by pairs of parallel strings cut from a nanoscale thickness flexible silicon nitride membrane. These strings of picogram mass can be synchronously driven to megahertz frequencies to electromechanically reconfigure the metamolecules and dramatically change the metamaterial’s transmission and reflection spectra. The metamaterial’s colossal electro-optical response allows for both fast continuous tuning of its optical properties (up to 8% optical signal modulation at up to megahertz rates) and high-contrast irreversible switching in a device of only 100 nm thickness without the need for external polarizers and analyzers.

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More information

Published date: 17 March 2013
Organisations: Optoelectronics Research Centre

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 350894
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/350894
ISSN: 1748-3387
PURE UUID: 542dcc46-7fe6-4f04-9ed1-3b15e0f46773
ORCID for Jun-Yu Ou: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-8028-6130
ORCID for Eric Plum: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1552-1840
ORCID for Nikolay I. Zheludev: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1013-6636

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Date deposited: 09 Apr 2013 15:00
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:22

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Contributors

Author: Jun-Yu Ou ORCID iD
Author: Eric Plum ORCID iD
Author: Jianfa Zhang

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