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Nano Lett. 2009 Jul;9(7):2579-83. doi: 10.1021/nl900755b.

Tunable color filters based on metal-insulator-metal resonators.

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Thomas J. Watson Laboratory of Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, 91125, USA.


We report a method for filtering white light into individual colors using metal-insulator-metal resonators. The resonators are designed to support photonic modes at visible frequencies, and dispersion relations are developed for realistic experimental configurations. Experimental results indicate that passive Ag/Si(3)N(4)/Au resonators exhibit color filtering across the entire visible spectrum. Full field electromagnetic simulations were performed on active resonators for which the resonator length was varied from 1-3 microm and the output slit depth was systematically varied throughout the thickness of the dielectric layer. These resonators are shown to filter colors based on interference between the optical modes within the dielectric layer. By careful design of the output coupling, the resonator can selectively couple to intensity maxima of different photonic modes and, as a result, preferentially select any of the primary colors. We also illustrate how refractive index modulation in metal-insulator-metal resonators can yield actively tunable color filters. Simulations using lithium niobate as the dielectric layer and the top and bottom Ag layers as electrodes, indicate that the output color can be tuned over the visible spectrum with an applied field.

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