Active modulation of the polarization states of terahertz light is indispensable for polarization-sensitive spectroscopy, having important applications such as non-contact Hall measurements, vibrational circular dichroism measurements and anisotropy imaging. In the terahertz region, the lack of a polarization modulator similar to a photoelastic modulator in the visible range hampers expansion of such spectroscopy. A terahertz chiral metamaterial has a huge optical activity unavailable in nature; nevertheless, its modulation is still challenging. Here we demonstrate a handedness-switchable chiral metamaterial for polarization modulation employing vertically deformable Micro Electro Mechanical Systems. Vertical deformation of a planar spiral by a pneumatic force creates a three-dimensional spiral. Enantiomeric switching is realized by selecting the deformation direction, where the polarity of the optical activity is altered while maintaining the spectral shape. A polarization rotation as high as 28° is experimentally observed, thus providing a practical and compact polarization modulator for the terahertz range.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)