Creating materials with time-variant properties is critical for breaking reciprocity that imposes fundamental limitations on wave propagation. However, it is challenging to realize efficient and ultrafast temporal modulation in a photonic system. Here, leveraging both spatial and temporal phase manipulation offered by an ultrathin nonlinear metasurface, we experimentally demonstrated nonreciprocal light reflection at wavelengths around 860 nm. The metasurface, with travelling-wave modulation upon nonlinear Kerr building blocks, creates spatial phase gradient and multi-terahertz temporal phase wobbling, which leads to unidirectional photonic transitions in both the momentum and energy spaces. We observed completely asymmetric reflections in forward and backward light propagations over a large bandwidth around 5.77 THz within a sub-wavelength interaction length of 150 nm. Our approach highlights a potential means for creating miniaturized and integratable nonreciprocal optical components.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics