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Nature. 2013 May 23;497(7450):470-4. doi: 10.1038/nature12158.

All-angle negative refraction and active flat lensing of ultraviolet light.

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Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, National Institute of Standard and Technology, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA.


Decades ago, Veselago predicted that a material with simultaneously negative electric and magnetic polarization responses would yield a 'left-handed' medium in which light propagates with opposite phase and energy velocities--a condition described by a negative refractive index. He proposed that a flat slab of left-handed material possessing an isotropic refractive index of -1 could act like an imaging lens in free space. Left-handed materials do not occur naturally, and it has only recently become possible to achieve a left-handed response using metamaterials, that is, electromagnetic structures engineered on subwavelength scales to elicit tailored polarization responses. So far, left-handed responses have typically been implemented using resonant metamaterials composed of periodic arrays of unit cells containing inductive-capacitive resonators and conductive wires. Negative refractive indices that are isotropic in two or three dimensions at microwave frequencies have been achieved in resonant metamaterials with centimetre-scale features. Scaling the left-handed response to higher frequencies, such as infrared or visible, has been done by shrinking critical dimensions to submicrometre scales by means of top-down nanofabrication. This miniaturization has, however, so far been achieved at the cost of reduced unit-cell symmetry, yielding a refractive index that is negative along only one axis. Moreover, lithographic scaling limits have so far precluded the fabrication of resonant metamaterials with left-handed responses at frequencies beyond the visible. Here we report the experimental implementation of a bulk metamaterial with a left-handed response to ultraviolet light. The structure, based on stacked plasmonic waveguides, yields an omnidirectional left-handed response for transverse magnetic polarization characterized by a negative refractive index. By engineering the structure to have a refractive index close to -1 over a broad angular range, we achieve Veselago flat lensing, in free space, of arbitrarily shaped, two-dimensional objects beyond the near field. We further demonstrate active, all-optical modulation of the image transferred by the flat lens.


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