The field of nanophotonics is based on the ability to confine light to sub-diffractional dimensions. Up until recently, research in this field has been primarily focused on the use of plasmonic metals. However, the high optical losses inherent in such metal-based surface plasmon materials has led to an ever-expanding effort to identify, low-loss alternative materials capable of supporting sub-diffractional confinement. One highly promising alternative are polar dielectric crystals whereby sub-diffraction confinement of light can be achieved through the stimulation of surface phonon polaritons within an all-dielectric, and thus low loss material system. Both SiC and hexagonal BN are two exemplary SPhP systems, which along with a whole host of alternative materials promise to transform nanophotonics and metamaterials in the mid-IR to THz spectral range. In addition to the lower losses, these materials offer novel opportunities not available with traditional plasmonics, for instance hyperbolic optical behavior in natural materials such as hBN, enabling super-resolution imaging without the need for complex fabrication. This talk will provide an overview of the SPhP phenomenon, a discussion of what makes a ‘good’ SPhP material and recent results from SiC and the naturally hyperbolic material, hBN from our research group.
Joshua D. Caldwell, Lucas Lindsey, Vincenzo Giannini, Igor Vurgaftman, Thomas L. Reinecke, Stefan A. Maier, and Orest J. Glembocki, "Towards low-loss, infrared and THz nanophotonics and metamaterials: surface phonon polariton modes in polar dielectric crystals (Presentation Recording)," Proc. SPIE 9544, Metamaterials, Metadevices, and Metasystems 2015, 954412 (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 11, 2015; Published: 5 October 2015); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2187019.4519316145001.
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