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Enabling propagation of anisotropic polaritons along forbidden directions via a topological transition

AuthorsDuan, Jiahua; Álvarez-Pérez, Gonzalo; Voronin, Kirill V.; Prieto, Iván; Taboada-Gutiérrez, Javier; Volkov, Valentyn S.; Martín-Sánchez, Javier; Nikitin, Alexey Y.; Alonso-González, Pablo CSIC ORCID
Issue Date2021
PublisherAmerican Association for the Advancement of Science
CitationScience Advances 7(14): eabf2690 (2021)
AbstractPolaritons with directional in-plane propagation and ultralow losses in van der Waals (vdW) crystals promise unprecedented manipulation of light at the nanoscale. However, these polaritons present a crucial limitation: their directional propagation is intrinsically determined by the crystal structure of the host material, imposing forbidden directions of propagation. Here, we demonstrate that directional polaritons (in-plane hyperbolic phonon polaritons) in a vdW crystal (α-phase molybdenum trioxide) can be directed along forbidden directions by inducing an optical topological transition, which emerges when the slab is placed on a substrate with a given negative permittivity (4H–silicon carbide). By visualizing the transition in real space, we observe exotic polaritonic states between mutually orthogonal hyperbolic regimes, which unveil the topological origin of the transition: a gap opening in the dispersion. This work provides insights into optical topological transitions in vdW crystals, which introduce a route to direct light at the nanoscale.
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.abf2690
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