Free-space circularly polarized light (CPL) detection, requiring polarizers and wave plates, is well established, but such a spatial degree of freedom is unfortunately absent in integrated on-chip optoelectronics. The filterless CPL photodetectors reported so far suffer from an intrinsic small discrimination ratio, vulnerability to the non-CPL field components and low responsivity. Here we report a distinct paradigm of geometric photodetectors in the mid-infrared, exhibiting a substantial discrimination ratio of 84, a close-to-perfect CPL-specific response, a zero-bias responsivity of 392 V W−1 at room temperature and a detectivity of ellipticity down to 0.03° Hz−1/2. Our approach makes use of a plasmonic nanostructures array with judiciously designed symmetry, assisted by graphene ribbons, to electrically read their near-field optical information. This geometry-empowered recipe for infrared photodetectors provides a robust, direct, strict and high-quality solution to on-chip filterless CPL detection and unlocks new opportunities for integrated functional optoelectronic devices.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution
Access Nature and 54 other Nature Portfolio journals
Get Nature+, our best-value online-access subscription
$29.99 per month
cancel any time
Subscribe to this journal
Receive 12 print issues and online access
$209.00 per year
only $17.42 per issue
Rent or buy this article
Get just this article for as long as you need it
Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout
All data needed to evaluate the conclusions in this paper are present in the paper or the Supplementary Information. Additional data related to this paper may be requested from the corresponding authors upon request.
Rubin, N. A. et al. Matrix Fourier optics enables a compact full-Stokes polarization camera. Science 365, eaax1839 (2019).
Martínez, A. Polarimetry enabled by nanophotonics. Science 362, 750–751 (2018).
Xiong, J. & Wu, S.-T. Planar liquid crystal polarization optics for augmented reality and virtual reality: from fundamentals to applications. eLight 1, 3 (2021).
Lu, J. et al. Enhanced optical asymmetry in supramolecular chiroplasmonic assemblies with long-range order. Science 371, 1368–1374 (2021).
Sherson, J. F. et al. Quantum teleportation between light and matter. Nature 443, 557–560 (2006).
Tyo, J. S., Goldstein, D. L., Chenault, D. B. & Shaw, J. A. Review of passive imaging polarimetry for remote sensing applications. Appl. Opt. 45, 5453–5469 (2006).
Greenfield, N. J. Using circular dichroism spectra to estimate protein secondary structure. Nat. Protoc. 1, 2876–2890 (2006).
Gansel, J. K. et al. Gold helix photonic metamaterial as broadband circular polarizer. Science 325, 1513–1515 (2009).
Zhao, Y., Belkin, M. A. & Alù, A. Twisted optical metamaterials for planarized ultrathin broadband circular polarizers. Nat. Commun. 3, 870 (2012).
Li, Z. et al. Non-Hermitian electromagnetic metasurfaces at exceptional points. Prog. Electromagn. Res. 171, 1–20 (2021).
Dorrah, A. H., Rubin, N. A., Zaidi, A., Tamagnone, M. & Capasso, F. Metasurface optics for on-demand polarization transformations along the optical path. Nat. Photon. 15, 287–296 (2021).
Pors, A., Nielsen, M. G. & Bozhevolnyi, S. I. Plasmonic metagratings for simultaneous determination of Stokes parameters. Optica 2, 716–723 (2015).
Bai, J. et al. Chip-integrated plasmonic flat optics for mid-infrared full-Stokes polarization detection. Photon. Res. 7, 1051–1060 (2019).
Basiri, A. et al. Nature-inspired chiral metasurfaces for circular polarization detection and full-Stokes polarimetric measurements. Light: Sci. Appl. 8, 78 (2019).
Ishii, A. & Miyasaka, T. Direct detection of circular polarized light in helical 1D perovskite-based photodiode. Sci. Adv. 6, eabd3274 (2020).
Li, W. et al. Circularly polarized light detection with hot electrons in chiral plasmonic metamaterials. Nat. Commun. 6, 8379 (2015).
Chen, C. et al. Circularly polarized light detection using chiral hybrid perovskite. Nat. Commun. 10, 1927 (2019).
Yang, Y., Da Costa, R. C., Fuchter, M. J. & Campbell, A. J. Circularly polarized light detection by a chiral organic semiconductor transistor. Nat. Photon. 7, 634–638 (2013).
Zhang, L. et al. π-Extended perylene diimide double-heterohelicenes as ambipolar organic semiconductors for broadband circularly polarized light detection. Nat. Commun. 12, 142 (2021).
Afshinmanesh, F., White, J. S., Cai, W. & Brongersma, M. L. Measurement of the polarization state of light using an integrated plasmonic polarimeter. Nanophotonics 1, 125–129 (2012).
Li, L. et al. Monolithic full-Stokes near-infrared polarimetry with chiral plasmonic metasurface integrated graphene-silicon photodetector. ACS Nano 14, 16634–16642 (2020).
Lu, F., Lee, J., Jiang, A., Jung, S. & Belkin, M. A. Thermopile detector of light ellipticity. Nat. Commun. 7, 12994 (2016).
Dhara, S., Mele, E. J. & Agarwal, R. Voltage-tunable circular photogalvanic effect in silicon nanowires. Science 349, 726–729 (2015).
Sun, X. et al. Topological insulator metamaterial with giant circular photogalvanic effect. Sci. Adv. 7, eabe5748 (2021).
Hatano, T., Ishihara, T., Tikhodeev, S. G. & Gippius, N. A. Transverse photovoltage induced by circularly polarized light. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 103906 (2009).
Shalygin, V. A., Moldavskaya, M. D., Danilov, S. N., Farbshtein, I. I. & Golub, L. E. Circular photon drag effect in bulk tellurium. Phys. Rev. B 93, 045207 (2016).
Ganichev, S. D. et al. Spin-galvanic effect. Nature 417, 153–156 (2002).
Ganichev, S. D. et al. Subnanosecond ellipticity detector for laser radiation. Appl. Phys. Lett. 91, 091101 (2007).
Hentschel, M., Schäferling, M., Duan, X., Giessen, H. & Liu, N. Chiral plasmonics. Sci. Adv. 3, e1602735 (2017).
Chen, Y. et al. Multidimensional nanoscopic chiroptics. Nat. Rev. Phys. 4, 113–124 (2022).
Movsesyan, A., Besteiro, L. V., Kong, X., Wang, Z. & Govorov, A. O. Engineering strongly chiral plasmonic lattices with achiral unit cells for sensing and photodetection. Adv. Opt. Mater. 10, 2101943 (2022).
Zu, S. et al. Deep-subwavelength resolving and manipulating of hidden chirality in achiral nanostructures. ACS Nano 12, 3908–3916 (2018).
Horrer, A. et al. Local optical chirality induced by near-field mode interference in achiral plasmonic metamolecules. Nano Lett. 20, 509–516 (2020).
Chen, Y., Gao, J. & Yang, X. Direction‐controlled bifunctional metasurface polarizers. Laser Photon. Rev. 12, 1800198 (2018).
Chen, Y., Yang, X. & Gao, J. Spin-controlled wavefront shaping with plasmonic chiral geometric metasurfaces. Light Sci. Appl. 7, 84 (2018).
Wei, J. et al. Zero-bias mid-infrared graphene photodetectors with bulk photoresponse and calibration-free polarization detection. Nat. Commun. 11, 6404 (2020).
Wei, J., Xu, C., Dong, B., Qiu, C.-W. & Lee, C. Mid-infrared semimetal polarization detectors with configurable polarity transition. Nat. Photon. 15, 614–621 (2021).
Giovannetti, G. et al. Doping graphene with metal contacts. Phys. Rev. Lett. 101, 026803 (2008).
Zuev, Y. M., Chang, W. & Kim, P. Thermoelectric and magnetothermoelectric transport measurements of graphene. Phys. Rev. Lett. 102, 096807 (2009).
Song, J. C. W. & Levitov, L. S. Shockley–Ramo theorem and long-range photocurrent response in gapless materials. Phys. Rev. B 90, 075415 (2014).
Gabor, N. M. et al. Hot carrier-assisted intrinsic photoresponse in graphene. Science 334, 648–652 (2011).
Sturman, B. I. & Fridkin, V. M. in Photovoltaic and Photo-refractive Effects in Noncentrosymmetric Materials, 8 (CRC Press, 1992).
Liu, J., Xia, F., Xiao, D., García de Abajo, F. J. & Sun, D. Semimetals for high-performance photodetection. Nat. Mater. 19, 830–837 (2020).
Hsu, A. L. et al. Graphene-based thermopile for thermal imaging applications. Nano Lett. 15, 7211–7216 (2015).
Zeng, L. et al. Van der Waals epitaxial growth of mosaic‐like 2D platinum ditelluride layers for room‐temperature mid‐infrared photodetection up to 10.6 µm. Adv. Mater. 32, 2004412 (2020).
Olbrich, P. et al. Ratchet effects induced by terahertz radiation in heterostructures with a lateral periodic potential. Phys. Rev. Lett. 103, 090603 (2009).
Yi, S. et al. Subwavelength angle-sensing photodetectors inspired by directional hearing in small animals. Nat. Nanotechnol. 13, 1143–1147 (2018).
Kim, S. J. et al. Anti-Hermitian photodetector facilitating efficient subwavelength photon sorting. Nat. Commun. 9, 316 (2018).
Forbes, A., de Oliveira, M. & Dennis, M. R. Structured light. Nat. Photon. 15, 253–262 (2021).
Wang, M. et al. Single-crystal, large-area, fold-free monolayer graphene. Nature 596, 519–524 (2021).
The authors acknowledge the financial support from the National Research Foundation (grant no. NRF-CRP22-2019-0006) and Advanced Research and Technology Innovation Centre (grant no. A-0005947-16-00). C.W.Q acknowledges the financial support from the National Research Foundation (grant no. NRF-CRP26-2021-0004). C.L. acknowledges financial support from the National Research Foundation Singapore (grant no. NRF-CRP15-2015-02). Y.C. acknowledges support from start-up funding of the University of Science and Technology of China and the CAS Pioneer Hundred Talents Program. Y.L. acknowledges support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 92163123). W.L. acknowledges financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grants nos. 62134009 and 62121005) and the Innovation Grant of Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics (CIOMP). K.S.N. is grateful to the Ministry of Education, Singapore (Research Centre of Excellence award to the Institute for Functional Intelligent Materials, I-FIM, project no. EDUNC-33-18-279-V12) and Royal Society (UK, grant no. RSRP\R\190000) for support.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information
Nature Photonics thanks the anonymous reviewers for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
Rights and permissions
Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.
About this article
Cite this article
Wei, J., Chen, Y., Li, Y. et al. Geometric filterless photodetectors for mid-infrared spin light. Nat. Photon. 17, 171–178 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41566-022-01115-7
This article is cited by
Geometry speaks out
Nature Photonics (2023)