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Experimental study of plasmon polaritons in topological insulators and Weyl Semi-Metals.

Project description

Unprecedented measurement of exotic light and matter interactions

There are so many exotic particle interactions and quasi-particles around these days, it can be hard to keep them straight. Among them are polaritons, hybrid particles consisting of a photon strongly coupled to an electric dipole. Recently, researchers discovered that thousands of known materials likely harbour so-called topological states, exotic phases of matter so far identified in just a few hundred. The EU-funded TOPLASMON project is exploiting a cutting-edge measurement system that will enable scientists to study polaritons in topological materials, revealing novel topological polaritons for the first time and opening the door to a burst of new research into condensed matter and nanophotonics.


Polaritons are joint excitations of light and matter and constitute an important field of study in optics. Historically, many new types of polaritons have been discovered by inspecting novel and interesting material systems, with graphene plasmons being a prominent example. Project TOPLASMON aims to study and harness the polaritons in an even newer material category - topological materials - which have recently been discovered and are intensively studied in condensed matter physics. These materials include topological insulators, which have conducting edges but insulating bulks, and Weyl Semimetals, which support unique Fermi-arc states. At the heart of project TOPLASMON is a novel measurement system, which combines a recently invented cryogenic scanning near field microscope with a THz laser and detector. This setup will allow, for the first time, the observation of topological polaritons of several varieties: (1) Chiral polaritons in topological insulators which exhibit reduced backscattering from defects. Specifically, I will working with the recently realized 2D topological insulators. (2) Fermi-arc Polaritons in Weyl Semimetals, whose dispersion is tied in with the properties of the underyling crystal, thereby probing the properties of these new materials. These polaritons are expected to have an in-plane hyperbolic dispersion and may even lead to realization of miniaturized optical isolators, leading to an important technological breakthrough. (3) Strong plasmonic resonances. I will study plasmon-polariton excitations in topological material, at frequencies near the plasmonic resonance. Empowered by the exceedingly long electron scattering times measured in several recent experiments, highly confined plasmons with unprecedentedly long propagation distances are exoected, a dramatic result for both science and technology.
This proposal is therefore set to open a new study area at the forefront of research both in condensed matter and nanophotonics.


Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
08860 Castelldefels

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Este Cataluña Barcelona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 172 932,48