Tunable metamaterials belonging to the class of different reconfigurable optical devices have proved to be an excellent candidate for dynamic and efficient light control. However, due to the consistent optical response of metals, there are some limitations aiming to directly engineer electromagnetic resonances of widespread metal-based composites. The former is accomplished by altering the features or structures of substrates around the resonant unit cells only. In this regard, the adjusting of metallic composites has considerably weak performance. Herein, we make a step forward by providing deep insight into a direct tuning approach for semiconductor-based composites. The resonance behavior of their properties can be dramatically affected by manipulating the distribution of free carriers in unit cells under an applied voltage. The mentioned approach has been demonstrated in the case of semiconductor metamaterials by comparing the enhanced propagation of surface plasmon polaritons with a conventional semiconductor/air case. Theoretically, the presented approach provides a fertile ground to simplify the configuration of engineerable composites and provides a fertile ground for applications in ultrathin, linearly tunable, and on-chip integrated optical components. These include reconfigurable ultrathin lenses, nanoscale spatial light modulators, and optical cavities with switchable resonance modes.
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Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska Curie (grant agreement no. 713694) and from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) (grant no. EP/R024898/1).