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Frontiers of Optoelectronics

Front. Optoelectron.    2015, Vol. 8 Issue (1) : 27-43     DOI: 10.1007/s12200-014-0436-0
Semiconductor activated terahertz metamaterials
Hou-Tong CHEN()
Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87545, USA
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Metamaterials have been developed as a new class of artificial effective media realizing many exotic phenomena and unique properties not normally found in nature. Metamaterials enable functionality through structure design, facilitating applications by addressing the severe material issues in the terahertz frequency range. Consequently, prototype functional terahertz devices have been demonstrated, including filters, antireflection coatings, perfect absorbers, polarization converters, and arbitrary wavefront shaping devices. Further integration of functional materials into metamaterial structures have enabled actively and dynamically switchable and frequency tunable terahertz metamaterials through the application of external stimuli. The enhanced light-matter interactions in active terahertz metamaterials may result in unprecedented control and manipulation of terahertz radiation, forming the foundation of many terahertz applications. In this paper, we review the progress during the past few years in this rapidly growing research field. We particularly focus on the design principles and realization of functionalities using single-layer and few-layer terahertz planar metamaterials, and active terahertz metamaterials through the integration of semiconductors to achieve switchable and frequency-tunable response.

Keywords terahertz      metamaterials      semiconductor      modulation     
Corresponding Authors: Hou-Tong CHEN   
Online First Date: 31 July 2014    Issue Date: 13 February 2015
 Cite this article:   
Hou-Tong CHEN. Semiconductor activated terahertz metamaterials[J]. Front. Optoelectron., 2015, 8(1): 27-43.
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Fig.1  (a) A metamaterial composed of a periodic array of metal split-ring resonators, where the incident magnetic field perpendicular to the metal structure can excite a resonant magnetic response, resulting in (b) a negative magnetic permeability over a narrow frequency range above the resonance. Adapted from Ref. [2]
Fig.2  (a) A simple split-ring resonator unit cell repeating in x and y directions to form a planar THz metamaterial. P = 50 mm, A = 36 mm, w = 4 mm, g = 2 mm, and the substrate is intrinsic GaAs; (b) an equivalent circuit of the split-ring resonator when the incident THz waves are polarized along the gap-bearing arm; (c) resonant transmission spectrum of the planar metamaterial normalized by the plain GaAs substrate. Adapted from Ref. [33]
Fig.3  (a) A unit cell of a cross resonator array at the interface between two dielectric media; (b) schematic of the reflection and transmission at the metamaterial interface; (c) amplitude and (d) phase spectra of the complex S-parameters of the metamaterial interface corresponding to the reflection and transmission coefficients under normal incidence, where r 12 = | S 11 | , t 12 = n 1 / n 2 | S 21 | , r 21 = | S 22 | , and t 21 = n 2 / n 1 | S 12 | . Adapted from Ref. [45]
Fig.4  (a) Schematic of multireflection within a metamaterial absorber; (b) absorption spectra under normal incidence for three metamaterial absorber configurations consisting of I-shaped resonators that are indicated in the insets. Adapted from Ref.[56].
Fig.5  Experimentally measured reflectance and transmittance under nearly normal incidence to a metamaterial coated GaAs surface. The gray horizontal lines indicate the reflectance (32%) and transmittance (68%) at a plain GaAs surface. Inset: unit cell of the metamaterial antireflection coating. Adapted from Ref. [59]
Fig.6  Experimental results of broadband THz linear polarization rotators in reflection (a) and transmission (b). Adapted from Ref. [71]
Fig.7  THz transmission spectra of a planar split-ring resonator array fabricated on top of an intrinsic GaAs substrate under near-infrared femtosecond laser excitation with various powers. Adapted from Ref. [33]
Fig.8  (a) Optical microscopy images of the split-ring resonator array with silicon pads integrated at the split gaps; (b) THz transmission amplitude and (c) phase spectra under various powers of near-infrared femtosecond laser excitation. Adapted from Ref. [83]
Fig.9  Experimentally measured transmission spectra of the THz EIT metamaterial (unit cell shown in the inset) without (red curve) and with (blue curve) photoexcitation. Adapted from Ref. [85]
Fig.10  Scanning electron microscopy images of (a) an individual unit cell and (b) a square array of electric split-ring resonators where silicon strips were incorporated at the split gap; (c) experimentally measured THz transmission spectra at various photoexcitation power levels. Adapted from Ref.[87]
Fig.11  (a) Scanning electron microscopy image of the dynamically switchable chiral meta-molecule; (b) simulated transmission spectra of left (solid curves) and right (dashed curves) handed circular polarizations before (black curves) and after (red curves) near-infrared photoexcitation; (c) circular dichroism before (black curve) and after (red curve) photoexcitation. Adapted from Ref. [90]
Fig.12  (a) Design schematic of the electrically switchable THz metamaterial, which is an array of interconnected electric split-ring resonators fabricated on top of a thin layer of n-doped GaAs substrate; (b) THz transmission spectra (intensity) as a function of the applied reverse voltage bias. Adapted from Ref. [94]
Fig.13  Correlated transmission amplitude (a) and phase (b) spectra under various reverse voltage biases to an electrically switchable THz metamaterial; (c) THz modulation signal normalized to the incident THz spectrum under a square electrical signal alternating between 0 and -16 V. Adapted from Ref. [95]
Fig.14  (a) Schematic of the single unit cell of the HEMT based electronically controllable THz metamaterial modulator, where the HEMT is identified and lies under each split gap of the metamaterial; (b) frequency dependent transmitted THz electric field for the HEMT/metamaterial device as a function of voltage bias. Adapted from Ref. [97]
Fig.15  A unit cell illustrating an electric split-ring resonator array fabricated on top of the n-doped GaAs epilayer in the reverse biased state; (b) schematic showing a portion of the first four grating strips formed by interconnected electric split-ring resonators; (c) illustration of the entire metamaterial grating. The color profile illustrates that alternate columns are biased forming a diffraction grating, with each column being independently controlled by the voltage bias between its Schottky pads and the ohmic contacts. Adapted from Ref. [103]
Fig.16  Intensity spectra of the differential diffracted signal at the off-axis angle of 36° when applying an alternating voltage bias at 1 kHz to the device shown in Fig. 14. Adapted from Ref. [103]
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