Intensity-dependent modulation of optically active signals in a chiral metamaterial

Sean P. Rodrigues, Shoufeng Lan, Lei Kang, Yonghao Cui, Patrick W. Panuski, Shengxiang Wang, Augustine M. Urbas, Wenshan Cai

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    68 Scopus citations


    Chiral media exhibit optical phenomena that provide distinctive responses from opposite circular polarizations. The disparity between these responses can be optimized by structurally engineering absorptive materials into chiral nanopatterns to form metamaterials that provide gigantic chiroptical resonances. To fully leverage the innate duality of chiral metamaterials for future optical technologies, it is essential to make such chiroptical responses tunable via external means. Here we report an optical metamaterial with tailored chiroptical effects in the nonlinear regime, which exhibits a pronounced shift in its circular dichroism spectrum under a modest level of excitation power. Strong nonlinear optical rotation is observed at key spectral locations, with an intensity-induced change of 14° in the polarization rotation from a metamaterial thickness of less than λ/7. The modulation of chiroptical responses by manipulation of input powers incident on chiral metamaterials offers potential for active optics such as all-optical switching and light modulation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number14602
    JournalNature communications
    StatePublished - Feb 27 2017

    All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

    • General Chemistry
    • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
    • General Physics and Astronomy


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