The development of metamaterials, data processing circuits and sensors for the visible and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum is hampered by the lack of low-loss media supporting plasmonic excitations. This has driven the intense search for plasmonic materials beyond noble metals. Here we show that the semiconductor Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.8Se1.2, also known as a topological insulator, is also a good plasmonic material in the blue-ultraviolet range, in addition to the already-investigated terahertz frequency range. Metamaterials fabricated from Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.8Se1.2 show plasmonic resonances from 350 to 550 nm, while surface gratings exhibit cathodoluminescent peaks from 230 to 1,050 nm. The observed plasmonic response is attributed to the combination of bulk charge carriers from interband transitions and surface charge carriers of the topological insulator. The importance of our result is in the identification of new mechanisms of negative permittivity in semiconductors where visible range plasmonics can be directly integrated with electronics.
Ultraviolet and visible range plasmonics in the topological insulator Bi1.5Sb0.5Te1.8Se1.2
J. Y. Ou, J. K. So, G. Adamo, A. Sulaev, L. Wang, and N. I. Zheludev
Nat. Commun., 5, 5139 (2014) doi: 10.1038/ncomms6139