MEMS-actuated terahertz metamaterials driven by phase-transition materials

The non-ionizing and penetrative characteristics of terahertz (THz) radiation have recently led to its adoption across a variety of applications. To effectively utilize THz radiation, modulators with precise control are imperative. While most recent THz modulators manipulate the amplitude, frequency, or phase of incident THz radiation, considerably less progress has been made toward THz polarization modulation. Conventional methods for polarization control suffer from high driving voltages, restricted modulation depth, and narrow band capabilities, which hinder device performance and broader applications. Consequently, an ideal THz modulator that offers high modulation depth along with ease of processing and operation is required. In this paper, we propose and realize a THz metamaterial comprised of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) actuated by the phase-transition material vanadium dioxide (VO2). Simulation and experimental results of the three-dimensional metamaterials show that by leveraging the unique phase-transition attributes of VO2, our THz polarization modulator offers notable advancements over existing designs, including broad operation spectrum, high modulation depth, ease of fabrication, ease of operation condition, and continuous modulation capabilities. These enhanced features make the system a viable candidate for a range of THz applications, including telecommunications, imaging, and radar systems. Graphical Abstract available at:
This article was originally published in Frontiers of Optoelectronics. The version of record is available at: © The Author(s) 2024. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
metamaterials, MEMS, THz, VO2, phase-transition material
Huang, Z., Wu, W., Herrmann, E. et al. MEMS-actuated terahertz metamaterials driven by phase-transition materials. Front. Optoelectron. 17, 13 (2024).