Experimental verification of n = 0 structures for visible light

Phys Rev Lett. 2013 Jan 4;110(1):013902. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.013902. Epub 2013 Jan 2.


We fabricate and characterize a metal-dielectric nanostructure with an effective refractive index n = 0 in the visible spectral range. Light is excited in the material at deep subwavelength resolution by a 30-keV electron beam. From the measured spatially and angle-resolved emission patterns, a vanishing phase advance, corresponding to an effective [Symbol: see text] = 0 and n = 0, is directly observed at the cutoff frequency. The wavelength at which this condition is observed can be tuned over the entire visible or near-infrared spectral range by varying the waveguide width. This n = 0 plasmonic nanostructure may serve as a new building block in nanoscale optical integrated circuits and to control spontaneous emission as experimentally demonstrated by the strongly enhanced radiative optical density of states over the entire n = 0 structure.