Preserving Spin States upon Reflection: Linear and Nonlinear Responses of a Chiral Meta-Mirror

Lei Kang, Sean P. Rodrigues, Mohammad Taghinejad, Shoufeng Lan, Kyu Tae Lee, Yongmin Liu, Douglas H. Werner, Augustine Urbas, Wenshan Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


Conventional metallic mirrors flip the spin of a circularly polarized wave upon normal incidence by inverting the direction of the propagation vector. Altering or maintaining the spin state of light waves carrying data is a critical need to be met at the brink of photonic information processing. In this work, we report a chiral metamaterial mirror that strongly absorbs a circularly polarized wave of one spin state and reflects that of the opposite spin in a manner conserving the circular polarization. A circular dichroic response in reflection as large as ∼0.5 is experimentally observed in a near-infrared wavelength band. By imaging a fabricated pattern composed of the enantiomeric unit cells, we directly visualize the two key features of our engineered meta-mirrors, namely the chiral-selective absorption and the polarization preservation upon reflection. Beyond the linear regime, the chiral resonances enhance light-matter interaction under circularly polarized excitation, greatly boosting the ability of the metamaterial to perform chiral-selective signal generation and optical imaging in the nonlinear regime. Chiral meta-mirrors, exhibiting giant chiroptical responses and spin-selective near-field enhancement, hold great promise for applications in polarization sensitive electro-optical information processing and biosensing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7102-7109
Number of pages8
JournalNano letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 8 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Bioengineering
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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