Efficient and tunable reflection of phonon polaritons at built-in intercalation interfaces

Yingjie Wu, Qingdong Ou, Shaohua Dong, Guangwei Hu, Guangyuan Si, Zhigao Dai, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Michael S. Fuhrer, Sudha Mokkapati, Qiaoliang Bao

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Phonon polaritons—light coupled to lattice vibrations—in polar van der Waals crystals offer unprecedented opportunities for controlling light at the nanoscale due to their anisotropic and ultralow-loss propagation. While their analog plasmon polaritons—light coupled to electron oscillations—have long been studied and exhibit interesting reflections at geometrical edges and electronic boundaries, whether phonon polaritons can be reflected by such barriers has been elusive. Here, the effective and tunable reflection of phonon polaritons at embedded interfaces formed in hydrogen-intercalated α-MoO3 flakes is elaborated upon. Without breaking geometrical continuity, such intercalation interfaces can reflect phonon polaritons with low losses, yielding the distinct phase changes of −0.8π and −0.3π associated with polariton propagation, high efficiency of 50%, and potential electrical tunability. The results point to a new approach to construct on-demand polariton reflectors, phase modulators, and retarders, which may be transplanted into building future polaritonic circuits using van der Waals crystals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2008070
Number of pages8
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • nanophotonics
  • phonon polaritons
  • polariton reflection

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