Research ArticlePHYSICS

A mid-infrared biaxial hyperbolic van der Waals crystal

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Science Advances  24 May 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 5, eaav8690
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav8690


Hyperbolic media have attracted much attention in the photonics community due to their ability to confine light to arbitrarily small volumes and their potential applications to super-resolution technologies. The two-dimensional counterparts of these media can be achieved with hyperbolic metasurfaces that support in-plane hyperbolic guided modes upon nanopatterning, which, however, poses notable fabrication challenges and limits the achievable confinement. We show that thin flakes of a van der Waals crystal, α-MoO3, can support naturally in-plane hyperbolic polariton guided modes at mid-infrared frequencies without the need for patterning. This is possible because α-MoO3 is a biaxial hyperbolic crystal with three different Reststrahlen bands, each corresponding to a different crystalline axis. These findings can pave the way toward a new paradigm to manipulate and confine light in planar photonic devices.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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