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Nano Lett. 2017 Sep 13;17(9):5285-5290. doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.7b01587. Epub 2017 Aug 17.

Efficiency of Launching Highly Confined Polaritons by Infrared Light Incident on a Hyperbolic Material.

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Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology , Cambridge, Massachusetts 02215, United States.
National Institute for Materials Science , Namiki 1-1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t and Center for Nanoscience , 80539 M√ľnchen, Germany.
Department of Physics, Columbia University , New York, New York 10027, United States.


We investigated phonon-polaritons in hexagonal boron nitride-a naturally hyperbolic van der Waals material-by means of the scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy. Real-space nanoimages we have obtained detail how the polaritons are launched when the light incident on a thin hexagonal boron nitride slab is scattered by various intrinsic and extrinsic inhomogeneities, including sample edges, metallic nanodisks deposited on its top surface, random defects, and surface impurities. The scanned tip of the near-field microscope is itself a polariton launcher whose efficiency proves to be superior to all the other types of polariton launchers we studied. Our work may inform future development of polaritonic nanodevices as well as fundamental studies of collective modes in van der Waals materials.


Polariton launching; hexagonal boron nitride; hyperbolic materials; nano-optics; van der Waals materials

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