Image polaritons in van der Waals crystals

Menabde, S., Heiden, J., Cox, J., Mortensen, N., Jang, M.,


Polaritonic modes in low-dimensional materials enable strong light-matter interactions and the manipulation of light on nanometer length scales. Very recently, a new class of polaritons has attracted considerable interest in nanophotonics: image polaritons in van der Waals crystals, manifesting when a polaritonic material is in close proximity to a highly conductive metal, so that the polaritonic mode couples with its mirror image. Image modes constitute an appealing nanophotonic platform, providing an unparalleled degree of optical field compression into nanometric volumes while exhibiting lower normalized propagation loss compared to conventional polariton modes in van der Waals crystals on nonmetallic substrates. Moreover, the ultra-compressed image modes provide access to the nonlocal regime of light-matter interaction. In this review, we systematically overview the young, yet rapidly growing, field of image polaritons. More specifically, we discuss the dispersion properties of image modes, showcase the diversity of the available polaritons in various van der Waals materials, and highlight experimental breakthroughs owing to the unique properties of image polaritons.

DOI: 10.1515/nanoph-2021-0693