Ultrawide Thermo-optic Tuning of PbTe Meta-Atoms

Tomer Lewi, Hayden A. Evans, Nikita A. Butakov, Jon A. Schuller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Subwavelength Mie resonators have enabled new classes of optical antenna and nanophotonic devices and can act as the basic meta-atom constituents of low-loss dielectric metasurfaces. In any application, tunable Mie resonances are key to achieving a dynamic and reconfigurable operation. However, the active tuning of these nanoantennas is still limited and usually results in sub-linewidth resonance tuning. Here, we demonstrate the ultrawide dynamic tuning of PbTe Mie resonators fabricated via both laser ablation and a novel solution-processing approach. Taking advantage of the extremely large thermo-optic (TO) coefficient and a high refractive index of PbTe, we demonstrate high-quality factor Mie resonances that are tuned by several linewidths with temperature modulations as small as ΔT ∼ 10 K. We reveal that the origin for this exceptional tunability is due to an increased TO coefficient of PbTe at low temperatures. When combined into metasurface arrays, these effects can be exploited in ultranarrow active notch filers and metasurface phase shifters that require only a few kelvin modulation. These findings demonstrate the enabling potential of PbTe as a versatile, solution-processable, and highly tunable nanophotonic material that suggests new possibilities for meta-atom paints, coatings, and 3D metamaterials fabrication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3940-3945
Number of pages6
JournalNano Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 American Chemical Society.


This work was supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (FA9550-16-1-0393) and by the UC Office of the President Multicampus Research Programs and Initiatives (MR-15-328528). Microscopy was performed with support from MRSEC Program of the NSF under Award No. DMR 1121053, a member of the NSF-funded Materials Research Facilities Network. Numerical calculations were performed with the support from the Centre for Scientific Computing from the CNSI, MRL: an NSF MRSEC (DMR-1121053), NSF CNS-0960316. N.A.B. acknowledges support from the Department of Defense NDSEG fellowship.

FundersFunder number
UC Office of the President Multicampus Research Programs and InitiativesMR-15-328528
National Science FoundationDMR 1121053
U.S. Department of Defense
Air Force Office of Scientific ResearchFA9550-16-1-0393
Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, Harvard University


    • IV-VI semiconductors
    • Mie resonators
    • Tunable metasurfaces
    • dielectric nanoantennas
    • reconfigurable optics
    • solution-processed PbTe nanoparticles
    • thermo-optic


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