Ultra low-loss, isotropic optical negative-index metamaterial based on hybrid metal-semiconductor nanowires

Sci Rep. 2013;3:1507. doi: 10.1038/srep01507.


Recently, many fascinating properties predicted for metamaterials (negative refraction, superlensing, electromagnetic cloaking,…) were experimentally demonstrated. Unfortunately, the best achievements have no direct translation to the optical domain, without being burdened by technological and conceptual difficulties. Of particular importance within the realm of optical negative-index metamaterials (NIM), is the issue of simultaneously achieving strong electric and magnetic responses and low associated losses. Here, hybrid metal-semiconductor nanowires are proposed as building blocks of optical NIMs. The metamaterial thus obtained, highly isotropic in the plane normal to the nanowires, presents a negative index of refraction in the near-infrared, with values of the real part well below -1, and extremely low losses (an order of magnitude better than present optical NIMs). Tunability of the system allows to select the operating range in the whole telecom spectrum. The design is proven in configurations such as prisms and slabs, directly observing negative refraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't