Subwavelength multilayer dielectrics: Ultrasensitive transmission and breakdown of effective-medium theory

Hanan Herzig Sheinfux, Ido Kaminer, Yonatan Plotnik, Guy Bartal, Mordechai Segev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


We show that a purely dielectric structure made of alternating layers of deep subwavelength thicknesses exhibits novel transmission effects which completely contradict conventional effective medium theories exactly in the regime in which those theories are commonly used. We study waves incident at the vicinity of the effective medium's critical angle for total internal reflection and show that the transmission through the multilayer structure depends strongly on nanoscale variations even at layer thicknesses smaller than λ/50. In such deep subwavelength structures, we demonstrate dramatic changes in the transmission for variations in properties such as periodicity, order of the layers, and their parity. In addition to its conceptual importance, such sensitivity has important potential applications in sensing and switching.

Original languageEnglish
Article number243901
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number24
StatePublished - 11 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 American Physical Society.


Dive into the research topics of 'Subwavelength multilayer dielectrics: Ultrasensitive transmission and breakdown of effective-medium theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this