In order to apply the ability of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) to confine energy in the form of hyperbolic phonon polariton (HPhP) modes in photonic-electronic devices, approaches to finely control and leverage the sensitivity of these propagating waves must be investigated. Here, we show that by surrounding hBN with materials of lower/higher dielectric responses, such as air and silicon, lower/higher surface momenta of HPhPs can be achieved. Furthermore, an alternative method for preparing thin hBN crystals with minimum contamination is presented, which provides opportunities to study the sensitivity of the damping mechanism of HPhPs on adsorbed materials. Infrared scanning near-field optical microscopy (IR-SNOM) results suggest that the reflections at the upper and lower hBN interfaces are primary causes of the damping of HPhPs, and that the damping coefficients of propagating waves are highly sensitive to adjacent layers, suggesting opportunities for sensor applications.
Kim, K. S., Trajanoski, D., Ho, K., Gilburd, L., Maiti, A., van der Velden, L., ... Walker, G. C. (2017). The Effect of Adjacent Materials on the Propagation of Phonon Polaritons in Hexagonal Boron Nitride. Journal of physical chemistry letters, 8(13), 2902–2908. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b01048