Photonic spin Hall effect in hyperbolic metamaterials for polarization-controlled routing of subwavelength modes

Nat Commun. 2014;5:3226. doi: 10.1038/ncomms4226.


The routing of light in a deep subwavelength regime enables a variety of important applications in photonics, quantum information technologies, imaging and biosensing. Here we describe and experimentally demonstrate the selective excitation of spatially confined, subwavelength electromagnetic modes in anisotropic metamaterials with hyperbolic dispersion. A localized, circularly polarized emitter placed at the boundary of a hyperbolic metamaterial is shown to excite extraordinary waves propagating in a prescribed direction controlled by the polarization handedness. Thus, a metamaterial slab acts as an extremely broadband, nearly ideal polarization beam splitter for circularly polarized light. We perform a proof of concept experiment with a uniaxial hyperbolic metamaterial at radio-frequencies revealing the directional routing effect and strong subwavelength λ/300 confinement. The proposed concept of metamaterial-based subwavelength interconnection and polarization-controlled signal routing is based on the photonic spin Hall effect and may serve as an ultimate platform for either conventional or quantum electromagnetic signal processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't