Reconfigurable Phase-Change Metasurface Absorbers for Optoelectronics Device Applications
García-Cuevas Carrillo, S
Date: 19 August 2019
University of Exeter
PhD in Engineering
This thesis is concerned with the design and development of dynamically reconfigurable optical metasurfaces. This reconfigurability is achieved by integrating chalcogenide phase-change materials with plasmonic resonator structures of the metal-insulator-metal type. Switching the phase-change material between its amorphous and crystalline ...
This thesis is concerned with the design and development of dynamically reconfigurable optical metasurfaces. This reconfigurability is achieved by integrating chalcogenide phase-change materials with plasmonic resonator structures of the metal-insulator-metal type. Switching the phase-change material between its amorphous and crystalline states results in dramatic changes in its optical properties, with consequent dramatic changes in the resonant behaviour of the plasmonic metasurface with which it is integrated. Moreover, such changes are non-volatile, reversible and potentially very fast, in the order of nanoseconds. The first part of the thesis is dedicated to the design, fabrication and characterisation of metasurface devices working at telecommunications wavelengths, specifically at wavelengths corresponding to the C-band (1530 to 1565 nm), and that act as a form of perfect absorber when the phase-change layer (in this case Ge2Sb2Te5) is amorphous but reflect strongly when switched to the crystalline state. Such behaviour can be used, for example, to provide a form of optical amplitude modulator. Fabricated devices not only showed very good performance, including a large modulation depth of ~77% and an extinction ratio of ~20 dB, but also incorporated a number of practicable design features often overlooked in the literature, including a means for protecting the phase-change layer from environmental oxidation and, importantly, an electrically-driven in-situ switching capability. In the second part of the thesis a method, based on eigenmode analysis and critical coupling theory, is developed to allow for the design and fabrication of perfect absorber type devices in a simple and efficient way, while at the same time maintaining design control over the key performance characteristics of resonant frequency, reflection coefficient at resonance and quality factor. Validation of this new method was carried out via the design and fabrication of a family of absorbers with a range of ‘on-demand’ quality factors, all operating at the same resonant frequency and able to be fabricated simply and simultaneously on the same chip. The final part of the thesis is concerned with the design and development of a switchable phase-change metamaterial type absorber working in the visible part of the spectrum and with non-volatile colour generating capability. With the phase-change layer, here GeTe, in the crystalline phase, the absorber can be tuned to selectively absorb the red, green and blue spectral bands, so generating vivid cyan, magenta and yellow pixels. When the phase-change layer is switched into the amorphous phase, the resonant absorption is suppressed and a flat, pseudo-white reflectance results. This potentially opens up a route to the development of non-volatile, phase-change metamaterial colour displays and colour electronic signage.
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