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Asymmetric transmission of linearly polarized light at optical metamaterials

: Menzel, C.; Helgert, C.; Rockstuhl, C.; Kley, E.B.; Tünnermann, A.; Pertsch, T.; Lederer, F.


Physical review letters 104 (2010), No.25, Art. 253902, 4 pp.
ISSN: 0031-9007
ISSN: 1079-7114
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IOF ()

We experimentally demonstrate a three-dimensional chiral optical metamaterial that exhibits an asymmetric transmission for forwardly and backwardly propagating linearly polarized light. The observation of this novel effect requires a metamaterial composed of three-dimensional chiral meta-atoms without any rotational symmetry. Our analysis is supported by a systematic investigation of the transmission matrices for arbitrarily complex, generally lossy media that allows deriving a simple criterion for asymmetric transmission in an arbitrary polarization base. Contrary to physical intuition, in general the polarization eigenstates in such three-dimensional and low-symmetry metamaterials do not obey fixed relations and the associated transmission matrices cannot be symmetrized.