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For easy manipulation of polarization states of light for applications in communications, imaging, and information processing, an efficient mechanism is desired for rotating light polarization with a minimum interaction length. Here, we report giant polarization rotations for terahertz (THz) electromagnetic waves in ultrathin (
), high-density films of aligned carbon nanotubes. We observed polarization rotations of up to and for transmitted and reflected THz pulses, respectively. The amount of polarization rotation was a sensitive function of the angle between the incident THz polarization and the nanotube alignment direction, exhibiting a “magic” angle at which the total rotation through transmission and reflection becomes exactly 90°. Our model quantitatively explains these giant rotations as a result of extremely anisotropic optical constants, demonstrating that aligned carbon nanotubes promise ultrathin, broadband, and tunable THz polarization devices.
In terahertz (THz) photonics, there is an ongoing effort to develop thin, compact devices such as dielectric photonic crystal (PhC) slabs with desirable light–matter interactions. However, previous works in THz PhC slabs have been limited to rigid substrates with thicknesses
of micrometers. Dielectric PhC slabs have been shown to possess in-plane modes that are excited by external radiation to produce sharp guided-mode resonances with minimal absorption for applications in sensors, optics, and lasers. Here we confirm the existence of guided resonances in a membrane-type THz PhC slab with subwavelength ( ) thicknesses of flexible dielectric polyimide films. The transmittance of the guided resonances was measured for different structural parameters of the unit cell. Furthermore, we exploited the flexibility of the samples to modulate the guided modes for a bend angle of , confirmed experimentally by the suppression of these modes. The mechanical flexibility of the device allows for an additional degree of freedom in system design for high-speed communications, soft wearable photonics, and implantable medical devices.