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  1. Phonons are important lattice vibrations that affect the thermal, electronic, and optical properties of materials. In this work, we studied infrared phonon resonance in a prototype van der Waals (vdW) material—hexagonal boron nitride (hBN)—with the thickness ranging from monolayers to bulk, especially on ultra-thin crystals with atomic layers smaller than 20. Our combined experimental and modeling results show a systematic increase in the intensity of in-plane phonon resonance at the increasing number of layers in hBN, with a sensitivity down to one atomic layer. While the thickness-dependence of the phonon resonance reveals the antenna nature of our nanoscope, the linear thickness-scaling of the phonon polariton wavelength indicates the preservation of electromagnetic hyperbolicity in ultra-thin hBN layers. Our conclusions should be generic for fundamental resonances in vdW materials and heterostructures where the number of constituent layers can be conveniently controlled. The thickness-dependent phonon resonance and phonon polaritons revealed in our work also suggest vdW engineering opportunities for desired thermal and nanophotonic functionalities.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 7, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 22, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 1, 2023
  4. Abstract

    Polaritons enable subwavelength confinement and highly anisotropic flows of light over a wide spectral range, holding the promise for applications in modern nanophotonic and optoelectronic devices. However, to fully realize their practical application potential, facile methods enabling nanoscale active control of polaritons are needed. Here, we introduce a hybrid polaritonic-oxide heterostructure platform consisting of van der Waals crystals, such as hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) or alpha-phase molybdenum trioxide (α-MoO3), transferred on nanoscale oxygen vacancy patterns on the surface of prototypical correlated perovskite oxide, samarium nickel oxide, SmNiO3(SNO). Using a combination of scanning probe microscopy and infrared nanoimaging techniques, we demonstrate nanoscale reconfigurability of complex hyperbolic phonon polaritons patterned at the nanoscale with high resolution. Hydrogenation and temperature modulation allow spatially localized conductivity modulation of SNO nanoscale patterns, enabling robust real-time modulation and nanoscale reconfiguration of hyperbolic polaritons. Our work paves the way towards nanoscale programmable metasurface engineering for reconfigurable nanophotonic applications.

  5. Efficient control of photons is enabled by hybridizing light with matter. The resulting light-matter quasi-particles can be readily programmed by manipulating either their photonic or matter constituents. Here, we hybridized infrared photons with graphene Dirac electrons to form surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) and uncovered a previously unexplored means to control SPPs in structures with periodically modulated carrier density. In these periodic structures, common SPPs with continuous dispersion are transformed into Bloch polaritons with attendant discrete bands separated by bandgaps. We explored directional Bloch polaritons and steered their propagation by dialing the proper gate voltage. Fourier analysis of the near-field images corroborates that this on-demand nano-optics functionality is rooted in the polaritonic band structure. Our programmable polaritonic platform paves the way for the much-sought benefits of on-the-chip photonic circuits.