Nature Materials: Polaritons in layered two-dimensional materials

Tony Low, Andrey Chaves, Joshua D. Caldwell, Anshuman Kumar, Nicholas X. Fang, Phaedon Avouris, Tony F. Heinz, Francisco Guinea, Luis Martin-Moreno & Frank Koppens
Nature Materials 16, 182–194 (2017) doi:10.1038/nmat4792

In recent years, enhanced light–matter interactions through a plethora of dipole-type polaritonic excitations have been observed in two-dimensional (2D) layered materials. In graphene, electrically tunable and highly confined plasmon-polaritons were predicted and observed, opening up opportunities for optoelectronics, bio-sensing and other mid-infrared applications. In hexagonal boron nitride, low-loss infrared-active phonon-polaritons exhibit hyperbolic behaviour for some frequencies, allowing for ray-like propagation exhibiting high quality factors and hyperlensing effects. In transition metal dichalcogenides, reduced screening in the 2D limit leads to optically prominent excitons with large binding energy, with these polaritonic modes having been recently observed with scanning near-field optical microscopy. Here, we review recent progress in state-of-the-art experiments, and survey the vast library of polaritonic modes in 2D materials, their optical spectral properties, figures of merit and application space. Taken together, the emerging field of 2D material polaritonics and their hybrids provide enticing avenues for manipulating light–matter interactions across the visible, infrared to terahertz spectral ranges, with new optical control beyond what can be achieved using traditional bulk materials.