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Self-Assembled Epitaxial Au–Oxide Vertically Aligned Nanocomposites for Nanoscale Metamaterials

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journal contribution
posted on 17.05.2016, 00:00 by Leigang Li, Liuyang Sun, Juan Sebastian Gomez-Diaz, Nicki L. Hogan, Ping Lu, Fauzia Khatkhatay, Wenrui Zhang, Jie Jian, Jijie Huang, Qing Su, Meng Fan, Clement Jacob, Jin Li, Xinghang Zhang, Quanxi Jia, Matthew Sheldon, Andrea Alù, Xiaoqin Li, Haiyan Wang
Metamaterials made of nanoscale inclusions or artificial unit cells exhibit exotic optical properties that do not exist in natural materials. Promising applications, such as super-resolution imaging, cloaking, hyperbolic propagation, and ultrafast phase velocities have been demonstrated based on mostly micrometer-scale metamaterials and few nanoscale metamaterials. To date, most metamaterials are created using costly and tedious fabrication techniques with limited paths toward reliable large-scale fabrication. In this work, we demonstrate the one-step direct growth of self-assembled epitaxial metal–oxide nanocomposites as a drastically different approach to fabricating large-area nanostructured metamaterials. Using pulsed laser deposition, we fabricated nanocomposite films with vertically aligned gold (Au) nanopillars (∼20 nm in diameter) embedded in various oxide matrices with high epitaxial quality. Strong, broad absorption features in the measured absorbance spectrum are clear signatures of plasmon resonances of Au nanopillars. By tuning their densities on selected substrates, anisotropic optical properties are demonstrated via angular dependent and polarization resolved reflectivity measurements and reproduced by full-wave simulations and effective medium theory. Our model predicts exotic properties, such as zero permittivity responses and topological transitions. Our studies suggest that these self-assembled metal–oxide nanostructures provide an exciting new material platform to control and enhance optical response at nanometer scales.