Giant Optical Activity in Quasi-Two-Dimensional Planar Nanostructures
We examine the spectral dependence in the visible frequency range of the polarization rotation of two-dimensional gratings consisting of chiral gold nanostructures with subwavelength features. The gratings, which do not diffract, are shown to exhibit giant specific rotation (∼104°/mm) of polarization in direct transmission at normal incidence. The rotation is the same for light incident on the front and back sides of the sample. Such reciprocity indicates three dimensionality of the structure arising from the asymmetry of light-plasmon coupling at the air-metal and substrate-metal interfaces. The structures thus enable polarization control with quasi-two-dimensional planar objects. However, in contradiction with recently suggested interpretation of experiments on larger scale but otherwise similar structures, the observed polarization phenomena violate neither reciprocity nor time-reversal symmetry.