Despite their distinctive chemical properties, lossy metals are generally avoided in the design of structural colors because the optical losses can degrade the color vibrancy. Herein, we demonstrate a strategy that allows lossy metals supporting near-wavelength dielectric gratings to achieve high color vibrancy by benefiting from the optical loss rather than suffering from it. By exciting the grating rotated 45° relative to the incident field, s-polarized (s-pol) and p-polarized (p-pol) light each excites a spectrally distinct resonance, described by a treatment of coupled waveguide-array modes, that retards the phase over the wavelength. Owing to the birefringence, a cross-polarized reflection spectrum displays two sharp peaks from each component that decreases the monochromaticity. We show that lossy metals can minimize the p-pol contribution, leaving the sharp s-pol response to determine the spectrum and generate high color vibrancy. Through this scheme, we demonstrate that lossy metal substrates including Pt, a catalytically active metal, and W, a CMOS-compatible metal, can achieve larger sRGB gamut coverage ratios of 90% and 69%, respectively, than that of 55% from Ag, while maintaining similar pixel contrast ratios to that of Ag.
- coupled waveguide-array modes
- lossy metals
- near-wavelength grating
- structural colors
- vibrant colors