Phase Change Materials for Tunable Metasurfaces

Illustration of the metasurface made of phase change material interacting with gas molecules. (Source: SUTD)

Many chemical molecules resonate when illu­minated by infrared light. This infrared resonance can then be used to identify or finger­print the molecules. The infrared is, therefore, useful for a range of applications, including atmo­spheric pollution moni­toring, detecting explo­sives and narco­tics, measuring food quality, and many others. However, infrared optical components tend to be large, expensive, and non-tuneable.

Researchers from the Singa­pore Univer­sity of Tech­nology and Design SUTD in colla­boration with Dalian Univer­sity of Tech­nology DUT and the Singa­pore Synchro­tron Light Source SSLS, have demon­strated that tuneable phase change materials, which are more typi­cally found in data storage devices, can be used to tune the response of micro­scale infrared trans­missive meta­surface filters. The filters can be tuned across the broad band of fre­quencies in the mid-infrared spectrum where many pollu­tant gasses vibrate.

SUTD lead researcher Robert Simpson said: „These infra­red filters are so small that they can be incor­porated into a smart phone. This would allow you to measure the quality of the oil that has been used to fry your food, measure the air that you breathe, or to measure fluids that are expelled from your body to check the condi­tion of your health.“ (Source: SUTD)

Reference: W. Dong et al.: Tunable Mid‐Infrared Phase‐Change Metasurface, Adv. Opt. Mat. 1701346 (2018); DOI: 10.1002/adom.201701346

Link: Engineering Product Development, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore

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