Electromagnetic surface waves are coupled excitations of photons and mobile charge carriers in metals, 2D/3D doped semiconductors. Similar electromagnetic fields exist also on polar materials and 2D vdW structures in the so-called reststrahlen region and are called surface phonon polaritons (SPhPs), which are collective modes that arise from coupling of photons with optical phonons in polar crystals. Both SPPs and SPhPs propagate along the interface and decay in the direction perpendicular to the surface. These surface waves display a rich palette of scientifically significant properties that promise novel applications in integrated circuits, sensors, synthetic life-like systems, solar cells, nanophotonics, energy transfer, coherent control of the lattice and surface waves, ultramicroscopy, superlensing, and metamaterials.
We investigate the nanoscale interaction of quasiparticles and polaritons in 2D materials with phase change systems; and plan to demonstrate unprecedented nanoscale control of surface waves by implementing hybrid phase change-plasmonic/phononic 2D material design coupled with direct real space nanoscale spectroscopic imaging. We characterize and fundamentally understand the coupled interactions and transmission of a nanoscale detected phenomena (phase change) to a microscopically propagating wave front in hybrid 2D-phase change material systems.