Abstract

We employ both the effective medium approximation (EMA) and Bloch theory to compare the dispersion properties of semiconductor hyperbolic metamaterials (SHMs) at mid-infrared frequencies and metallic hyperbolic metamaterials (MHMs) at visible frequencies. This analysis reveals the conditions under which the EMA can be safely applied for both MHMs and SHMs. We find that the combination of precise nanoscale layering and the longer infrared operating wavelengths puts the SHMs well within the effective medium limit and, in contrast to MHMs, allows for the attainment of very high photon momentum states. In addition, SHMs allow for new phenomena such as ultrafast creation of the hyperbolic manifold through optical pumping. In particular, we examine the possibility of achieving ultrafast topological transitions through optical pumping which can photo-dope appropriately designed quantum wells on the femtosecond time scale.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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