Ubiquity of Optical Activity in Planar Metamaterial Scatterers
Recently it was discovered that periodic lattices of metamaterial scatterers show optical activity, even if the scatterers or lattice show no 2D or 3D chirality, if the illumination breaks symmetry. We demonstrate that such “pseudochirality” is intrinsic to any single planar metamaterial scatterer and in fact has a well-defined value at a universal bound. We argue that in any circuit model, a nonzero electric and magnetic polarizability derived from a single resonance automatically imply strong bi-anisotropy, i.e., magnetoelectric cross polarizability at the universal bound set by energy conservation. We confirm our claim by extracting polarizability tensors and cross sections for handed excitation from transmission measurements on near-infrared split ring arrays, and electrodynamic simulations for diverse metamaterial scatterers.