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Coupling phase-switching with generalized Brewster effect for tunable optical sensor designs

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posted on 2024-02-14, 17:00 authored by Daniel T. Yimam, Dennis van der Veen, Teodor Zaharia, Maria Loi, Bart J. Kooi
The non-linear and tunable optical constants of phase-change materials associated with their phase-switching have been utilized in reconfigurable optical devices. For example, one possible application of phase-change thin films is for tunable perfect absorption designs, where p- polarized light reflectance vanishes at a specific incidence angle known as the Brewster angle. This work demonstrates a generalized Brewster effect (s- and p- polarized light absorption) for a multilayered heterostructure design based on the strong interference effect. The proposed design comprises a low-loss phase-change material, Sb2Se3, coated on a gold substrate. We experimentally and theoretically show the coexistence of vanishing reflectance values for both s- and p- polarized lights in the visible and near IR wavelength range at a single Brewster angle. Such vanishing reflectance values (points of darkness) are associated with phase singularities with abrupt changes. Moreover, we show that additional phase singularities can be realized by switching the active Sb2Se3 layer between amorphous and crystalline structures, extending the functionality of our design. The realized phase singularities are susceptible to small optical constant changes and can be utilized for ultra-sensing applications. As a proof of concept, we demonstrate our design's CO2 gas sensing capabilities, showing a linearly dependent optical response with gas flow rate. We believe our lithography-free design with multiple phase singularities, from the coexisting generalized Brewster effect and from the additional structural switching, is highly promising for tunable optical sensing applications.

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