Nanomechanical Reconfigurable Photonic Metamaterials

Over the last decade, fascinating optical properties including negative refraction, optical magnetism, invisibility, perfect lenses and many more were demonstrated in metamaterials. Inspired by pioneering work on micro-electro mechanical metamaterials for the terahertz and microwave spectral regions with feature sizes from millimeters to tens and hundreds microns, Dr Ou developed nanomechanical reconfigurable photonic metamaterials platform for the metamaterials consisting of nanoscale building blocks that can be reconfigured by forces in nanoscale, for example, thermal, electrostatic, magnetic, and optical forces.


  • The first reconfigurable photonic metamaterial controlled by ambient temperature.
    J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, L. Jiang, and N. I. Zheludev Nano Lett.11(5), 2142-2144 (2011)
    doi: 10.1021/nl200791r
  • The first metamaterial electro-optic modulator for the telecommunications band.

    J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, J. Zhang, and N. I. Zheludev Nature Nanotech.8, 252-255 (2013)
    doi: 10.1038/NNANO.2013.25

  • The first optically reconfigurable metamaterial for modulation of light with light.
    J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, J. Zhang, and N. I. Zheludev Adv. Mater.28, 729-733 (2016)
    doi: 10.1002/adma.201504467
  • Development of sophisticated nanofabrication techniques based on focused ion milling and electron beam lithography for optical metamaterials / metadevices.

This project has become possible relied on Dr Ou’s strong expertise in plasmonic metamaterials, nanomechanics, electrical/optical measurement and nanofabrication. The project is still growing and there are more demonstrations which were supported or supervised by Dr Ou showing in the following:

  • The first artificial material responded to electric and magnetic field in the same time
    A magneto-electro-optical effect in a plasmonic nanowire material
    J. Valente, J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, I. J. Youngs, and N. I. Zheludev
    Nat. Commun.6, 7021 (2015) doi: 10.1038/ncomms8021
    Reconfiguring photonic metamaterials with currents and magnetic fields
    J. Valente, J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, I. J. Youngs, and N. I. Zheludev
    Appl. Phys. Lett.106, 111905 (2015) doi: 10.1063/1.4913609
  • The first dielectric optomechanical metamaterial exhibiting giant nonlinearity
    Nano-optomechanical nonlinear dielectric metamaterials
    A. Karvounis, J. Y. Ou, W. Wu, K. F. MacDonald, N. I. Zheludev
    Appl. Phys. Lett.107, 191110 (2015) doi: 10.1063/1.4935795
  • Random addressable photonic metamaterial
    Random access actuation of nanowire grid metamaterial
    P. Cencillo-Abad, J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, J. Valente, and N. I. Zheludev
    Nanotechnology 27, 485206 (2016) doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/27/48/485206
  • Electro-mechanical light modulator based on controlling the interaction of light with a metasurface
    P. Cencillo-Abad, J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, and Nikolay I. Zheludev
    Sci. Rep.7, 5405 (2017) doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-05906-9
  • Optical bistability first observed in a shape-memory metamaterials 
    Optical bistability in shape-memory nanowire metamaterial array

    Y. Nagasaki, B. Gholipour, *J. Y. Ou, M. Tsuruta, E. Plum, K. F. MacDonald, J. Takahara, and N. I. Zheludev
    Appl. Phys. Lett. 113, 021105 (2018) doi: 10.1063/1.5025400
  • The first optically addressable metamaterial
    Optical addressing of nanomechanical metamaterials with subwavelength resolution

    *J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, and N. I. Zheludev
    Appl. Phys. Lett. 113, 081104 (2018) doi:10.1063/1.5036966
  • Mechanochromic Reconfigurable Metasurfaces
    A. Karvounis, N. Aspiotis,I. Zeimpekis, J. Y. Ou, C. C. Huang, D. Hewak, and N. I. Zheludev
    Advanced Science, 1900974 (2019) doi:10.1002/advs.201900974
  • Gigahertz Nano-Optomechanical Resonances in a Dielectric SiC-Membrane Metasurface Array
    I. A. Ajia, J. Y. Ou, N. J. Dinsdale, H. J. Singh, T. Chen-Sverre, T. Liu, N. I. Zheludev, and O. L. Muskens
    Nano Lett. (2021) doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.1c00205 – pdf
  • Electrogyration in metamaterials: Chirality and polarization rotatory power that depend on applied electric field
    Q. Zhang, E. Plum, J. Y. Ou, H. Pi, J. Li , K. F. MacDonald, and N. I. Zheludev
    Adv. Opt. Mater., 9 (4), 2001826 (2021) doi: 10.1002/adom.202001826 – pdf
  • Optomechanical metamaterial nanobolometer
    D. Papas, *J. Y. Ou, E. Plum, and N. I. Zheludev
    APL Photonics 6, 126110 (2021) doi: 10.1063/5.0073583 – pdf [Featured article]
  • Thermal fluctuations of the optical properties of nanomechanical photonic metamaterials
    J. Li, D. Papas, T. Liu, *J. Y. Ou, K. F. MacDonald, E. Plum, and N. I. Zheludev
    Adv. Opt. Mater. 202101591 (2021) doi: 10.1002/adom.202101591 – pdf

More and more to come….