Photonics with hexagonal boron nitride

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Journal Article
Nature Reviews Materials, 2019, 4 (8), pp. 552 - 567
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© 2019, Springer Nature Limited. For more than seven decades, hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) has been employed as an inert, thermally stable engineering ceramic; since 2010, it has also been used as the optimal substrate for graphene in nanoelectronic and optoelectronic devices. Recent research has revealed that hBN exhibits a unique combination of optical properties that enable novel (nano)photonic functionalities. Specifically, hBN is a natural hyperbolic material in the mid-IR range, in which photonic material options are sparse. Furthermore, hBN hosts defects that can be engineered to obtain room-temperature, single-photon emission; exhibits strong second-order nonlinearities with broad implications for practical devices; and is a wide-bandgap semiconductor well suited for deep UV emitters and detectors. Inspired by these promising attributes, research on the properties of hBN and the development of large-area bulk and thin-film growth techniques has dramatically expanded. This Review offers a snapshot of current research exploring the properties underlying the use of hBN for future photonics functionalities and potential applications, and covers some of the remaining obstacles.
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