Topological engineering of interfacial optical Tamm states for highly-sensitive near-singular-phase optical detection.
We developed planar multilayered photonic-plasmonic structures, which support topologically protected optical states on the interface between metal and dielectric materials, known as optical Tamm states. Coupling of incident light to the Tamm states can result in perfect absorption within one of several narrow frequency bands, which is accompanied by a singular behavior of the phase of electromagnetic field. In the case of near-perfect absorptance, very fast local variation of the phase can still be engineered. In this work, we theoretically and experimentally demonstrate how these drastic phase changes can improve sensitivity of optical sensors. A planar Tamm absorber was fabricated and used to demonstrate remote near-singular-phase temperature sensing with an over an order of magnitude improvement in sensor sensitivity and over two orders of magnitude improvement in the figure of merit over the standard approach of measuring shifts of resonant features in the reflectance spectra of the same absorber. Our experimentally demonstrated phase-to-amplitude detection sensitivity improvement nearly doubles that of state-of-the-art nano-patterned plasmonic singular-phase detectors, with further improvements possible via more precise fabrication. Tamm perfect absorbers form the basis for robust planar sensing platforms with tunable spectral characteristics, which do not rely on low-throughput nano-patterning techniques.
Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1801.03621