Femtosecond optical polarization switching using a cadmium oxide-based perfect absorber

Yuanmu Yang, Kyle Kelley, Edward Sachet, Salvatore Campione, Ting S. Luk, Jon Paul Maria, Michael B. Sinclair, Igal Brener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

257 Scopus citations


Ultrafast control of the polarization state of light may enable a plethora of applications in optics, chemistry and biology. However, conventional polarizing elements, such as polarizers and waveplates, are either static or possess only gigahertz switching speeds. Here, with the aid of high-mobility indium-doped cadmium oxide (CdO) as the gateway plasmonic material, we realize a high-quality factor Berreman-type perfect absorber at a wavelength of 2.08 μm. On sub-bandgap optical pumping, the perfect absorption resonance strongly redshifts because of the transient increase of the ensemble-averaged effective electron mass of CdO, which leads to an absolute change in the p-polarized reflectance from 1.0 to 86.3%. By combining the exceedingly high modulation depth with the polarization selectivity of the perfect absorber, we experimentally demonstrate a reflective polarizer with a polarization extinction ratio of 91 that can be switched on and off within 800 fs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalNature Photonics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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