Electrically tunable metasurface perfect absorbers for ultrathin mid-infrared optical modulators

Yu Yao, Raji Shankar, Mikhail A. Kats, Yi Song, Jing Kong, Marko Loncar, Federico Capasso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

665 Scopus citations


Dynamically reconfigurable metasurfaces open up unprecedented opportunities in applications such as high capacity communications, dynamic beam shaping, hyperspectral imaging, and adaptive optics. The realization of high performance metasurface-based devices remains a great challenge due to very limited tuning ranges and modulation depths. Here we show that a widely tunable metasurface composed of optical antennas on graphene can be incorporated into a subwavelength-thick optical cavity to create an electrically tunable perfect absorber. By switching the absorber in and out of the critical coupling condition via the gate voltage applied on graphene, a modulation depth of up to 100% can be achieved. In particular, we demonstrated ultrathin (thickness < λ0/10) high speed (up to 20 GHz) optical modulators over a broad wavelength range (5-7 μm). The operating wavelength can be scaled from the near-infrared to the terahertz by simply tailoring the metasurface and cavity dimensions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6526-6532
Number of pages7
JournalNano Letters
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 12 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Metasurface perfect absorbers
  • electrically tunable
  • graphene
  • mid-infrared optoelectronics
  • optical modulators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering


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