Abstract

Enhancing nonreciprocal light–matter interaction at subwavelength scales has attracted enormous attention due to high demand for compact optical isolators. Here, we propose a significant enhancement of the magneto-optical effect in low-biased gyromagnetic media via photonic doping. Magnetic particles immersed in a gyrotropy-near-zero medium act as dopants that largely modify the macroscopic gyromagnetic effects as well as the gyroelectric ones. Around the resonance frequency, the gyromagnetic activity is largely increased and even exceeds unity, thus providing a photonic band in which the wavenumber of one circularly polarized wave becomes purely imaginary. The sign of gyromagnetic activity flips at two chiral modes, and an equivalent switching of the external bias is revealed. A proof-of-concept low-biased planar isolator is designed with a thickness of only 1/28 wavelength and a degree of isolation achieving as high as 0.94. This methodology is robust against disturbance of the biased magnetic field and can be flexibly extended to other frequencies, thus offering a promising platform to achieve giant optical isolation with infinitesimally intrinsic magneto-optical effects and reduced sizes.

© 2019 Optical Society of America

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