Black phosphorus plasmonics: Anisotropic elliptical propagation and nonlocality-induced canalization

D. Correas-Serrano, Juan Sebastian Gomez Diaz, A. Alvarez Melcon, Andrea Alù

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


We investigate unusual surface plasmons polariton (SPP) propagation and light-matter interactions in ultrathin black phosphorus (BP) films, a 2D material that exhibits exotic electrical and physical properties due to its extremely anisotropic crystal structure. Recently, it has been speculated that the ultra-confined surface plasmons supported by BP may present various topologies of wave propagation bands, ranging from anisotropic elliptic to hyperbolic, across the mid- and near-infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. By carefully analyzing the natural nonlocal anisotropic optical conductivity of BP, derived using the Kubo formalism and an effective low-energy Hamiltonian, we demonstrate here that the SPP wavenumber cutoff imposed by nonlocality prohibits that they acquire an arbitrary hyperbolic topology, forcing operation in the canalization regime. The resulting nonlocality-induced canalization presents interesting properties, as it is inherently broadband, enables large light-matter interactions in the very near field, and allows extreme device miniaturization. We also determine fundamental bounds to the confinement of BP plasmons, which are significantly weaker than for graphene, thus allowing a larger local density of states. Our results confirm the potential of BP as a promising reconfigurable plasmonic platform, with exciting applications, such as planar hyperlenses, optoelectronic components, imaging, and communication systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number104006
JournalJournal of Optics (United Kingdom)
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • black phosphorus
  • hyperbolic materials
  • nonlocality
  • plasmonics
  • uniaxial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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