Metamaterials are artificially structured materials that can produce innovative optical functionalities such as negative refractive index, invisibility cloaking, and super-resolution imaging. Combining metamaterials with semiconductors enables us to develop novel optoelectronic devices based on the new concept of operation. Here we report the first experimental demonstration of a permeability-controlled waveguide optical modulator consisting of an InGaAsP/InP Mach-Zehnder interferometer with 'tri-gate' metamaterial attached on its arms. The tri-gate metamaterial consists of metal resonator arrays and triple-gate field effect elements. It changes its permeability with a change in the controlling gate voltage, thereby changing the refractive index of the interferometer arm to switch the modulator with an extinction ratio of 6.9 dB at a wavelength of 1.55 μm. The result shows the feasibility of InP-based photonic integrated devices that can produce new functions by controlling their permeability as well as their permittivity.
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