An optical wave’s reflection from metal arises from strong interactions between the optical electric field and the metal’s free carriers and is accompanied by a phase reversal of the reflected electric field.
A far less common route to achieving high reflectivity exploits strong interactions between the material and the optical magnetic field to produce a “magnetic mirror” that does not reverse the phase of the reflected electric field.
- Sheng Liu, Salvatore Campione, and Igal Brener (in Sandia’s Applied Photonic Microsystems Dept.);
- Michael Sinclair, Jon Ihlefeld, and Paul Clem (in Sandia’s Electronic, Optical, & Nano Materials Dept.);
- Thomas Mahony and James Ginn (in the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies, CINT);
- Young Chul Jun (Inha University, South Korea);
- Daniel Bender (in Sandia’s Sensors & Analog Electronics Dept.);
- Joel Wendt (in Sandia’s Physics-Based Microsystems Dept.); and
- Jeremy Wright (in Sandia’s SOF and Electro-Optical/Infra-Red Systems Dept.)
report on developing a new type of mirror that isn’t shiny, and instead reflects infrared light by using a magnetic property of a nonmetallic metamaterial.
At optical frequencies, the magnetic properties required for strong interaction can be achieved only by using artificially tailored materials. The team experimentally demonstrated the magnetic mirror behavior of a low-loss all-dielectric metasurface at infrared optical frequencies through direct measurements of the phase and amplitude of the reflected optical wave.
The enhanced absorption and emission of transverse-electric dipoles placed close to magnetic mirrors can lead to exciting new advances in sensors, photodetectors, and light sources.