Georg Ramer, Mohit Tuteja, Joseph R. Matson, Marcelo Davanco, Thomas G. Folland, Andrey Kretinin, Takashi Taniguchi, Kenji Watanabe, Kostya S. Novoselov, Joshua D. Caldwell, Andrea Centrone
May 18, 2020
The anisotropy of hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) gives rise to hyperbolic phonon-polaritons (HPhPs), notable for their volumetric frequency-dependent propagation and strong confinement. For frustum (truncated nanocone) structures, theory predicts five, high-order HPhPs, sets, but only one set was observed previously with far-field reflectance and scattering-type scanning near-field optical microscopy. In contrast, the photothermal induced resonance (PTIR) technique has recently permitted sampling of the full HPhP dispersion and observing such elusive predicted modes; however, the mechanism underlying PTIR sensitivity to these weakly-scattering modes, while critical to their understanding, has not yet been clarified. Here, by comparing conventional contact- and newly developed tapping-mode PTIR, we show that the PTIR sensitivity to those weakly-scattering, high-Q (up to ≈280) modes is, contrary to a previous hypothesis, unrelated to the probe operation (contact or tapping) and is instead linked to PTIR ability to detect tip-launched dark, volumetrically-confined polaritons, rather than nanostructure-launched HPhPs modes observed by other techniques. Furthermore, we show that in contrast with plasmons and surface phonon-polaritons, whose Q -factors and optical cross-sections are typically degraded by the proximity of other nanostructures, the high- Q HPhP resonances are preserved even in high-density hBN frustum arrays, which is useful in sensing and quantum emission applications.