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Tunable Cherenkov Radiation of Phonon Polaritons in Silver Nanowire/Hexagonal Boron Nitride Heterostructures.

Abstract

Polaritons in two-dimensional (2D) materials have shown their unique capabilities to concentrate light into deep subwavelength scales. Precise control of the excitation and propagation of 2D polaritons has remained a central challenge for future on-chip nanophotonic devices and circuits. To solve this issue, we exploit Cherenkov radiation, a classic physical phenomenon that occurs when a charged particle moves at a velocity greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium, in low-dimensional material heterostructures. Here, we report an experimental observation of Cherenkov phonon polariton wakes emitted by superluminal one-dimensional plasmon polaritons in a silver nanowire and hexagonal boron nitride heterostructure using near-field infrared nanoscopy. The observed Cherenkov radiation direction and radiation rate exhibit large tunability through varying the excitation frequency. Such tunable Cherenkov phonon polaritons provide opportunities for novel deep subwavelength-scale manipulation of light and nanoscale control of energy flow in low-dimensional material heterostructures.

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