Hydrogel-Based, Dynamically Tunable Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Nanoscale Resolution

Jian Zhang, Qiang Li, Chenjie Dai, Mingliang Cheng, Xin Hu, Hyun Sik Kim, Heesun Yang, Daniel J. Preston, Zhongyang Li, Xuefeng Zhang, Won Kyu Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Flat metasurfaces with subwavelength meta-atoms can be designed to manipulate the electromagnetic parameters of incident light and enable unusual light–matter interactions. Although hydrogel-based metasurfaces have the potential to control optical properties dynamically in response to environmental conditions, the pattern resolution of these surfaces has been limited to microscale features or larger, limiting capabilities at the nanoscale, and precluding effective use in metamaterials. This paper reports a general approach to developing tunable plasmonic metasurfaces with hydrogel meta-atoms at the subwavelength scale. Periodic arrays of hydrogel nanodots with continuously tunable diameters are fabricated on silver substrates, resulting in humidity-responsive surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) at the nanostructure–metal interfaces. The peaks of the SPPs are controlled reversibly by absorbing or releasing water within the hydrogel matrix, the matrix-generated plasmonic color rendering in the visible spectrum. This work demonstrates that metasurfaces designed with these spatially patterned nanodots of varying sizes benefit applications in anti-counterfeiting and generate multicolored displays with single-nanodot resolution. Furthermore, this work shows system versatility exhibited by broadband beam-steering on a phase modulator consisting of hydrogel supercell units in which the size variations of constituent hydrogel nanostructures engineer the wavefront of reflected light from the metasurface.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2205057
Issue number48
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • display materials
  • hydrogels
  • optical metasurfaces
  • structural coloration
  • surface plasmons


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrogel-Based, Dynamically Tunable Plasmonic Metasurfaces with Nanoscale Resolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this