Tunable composite optical materials with tailored properties are highly sought after. The near-infrared and visible frequency ranges remain the most challenging for achieving strong and fast tunability. Authors of this work have demonstrated an optimized metamaterial made of a chalcogenide composite structure, which switches between high transmission and low transmission states without a substantial change in reflection. By using a genetic algorithm, they created a pattern of Ge2
on a silica substrate. As they increase the temperature, the material switches between amorphous and crystalline phases, leading to the substantial change in the transmission in the near-infrared range. What is important is that in the amorphous phase the material has relatively low loss and the transmission is high. This gives the presented metamaterial an advantage over the metal-based structures, where losses are typically higher in the near-infrared range. Remarkably, the work presented in the paper was done seven years ago, and now the authors decided to publish it as the topic has become a hot research area.
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