Surface phonon polaritons (SPhPs) are attractive alternatives to infrared plasmonics for subdiffractional confinement of infrared light. Localized SPhP resonances in semiconductor nanoresonators are narrow, but that linewidth and the limited extent of the Reststrahlen band limit spectral coverage. To address this limitation, we report active tuning of SPhP resonances in InP and 4H-SiC by photoinjecting free carriers into nanoresonators, taking advantage of the coupling between the carrier plasma and optic phonons to blueshift SPhP resonances. We demonstrate state-of-the-art tuning figures of merit upon continuous-wave excitation (in InP) or pulsed excitation (in 4H-SiC). Lifetime effects cause the tuning to saturate in InP, and carrier redistribution leads to rapid (<50 ps) recovery of the resonance in 4H-SiC. This work demonstrates the potential for this method and opens a path towards actively tuned nanophotonic devices, such as modulators and beacons, in the infrared, and identifies important implications of coupling between electronic and phononic excitations.
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The authors thank M. Ancona for discussions. A.D.D., C.T.E. and A.J.G. acknowledge support from the National Research Council (NRC)–NRL Postdoctoral Fellowship and Karles Fellowship programmes. This work was funded via the Office of Naval Research through the Nanoscience Institute at the US Naval Research Laboratory.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Dunkelberger, A.D., Ellis, C.T., Ratchford, D.C. et al. Active tuning of surface phonon polariton resonances via carrier photoinjection. Nature Photon 12, 50–56 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-017-0069-0
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