Scientific Reports 7, 7745 (2017)
State-of-the-art pixels for high-resolution microdisplays utilize reflective surfaces on top of electrical backplanes. Each pixel is a single fixed color and will usually only modulate the amplitude of light. With the rise of nanophotonics, a pixel’s relatively large surface area (~10 μm2), is in effect underutilized. Considering the unique optical phenomena associated with plasmonic nanostructures, the scope for use in reflective pixel technology for increased functionality is vast. Yet in general, low reflectance due to plasmonic losses, and sub-optimal design schemes, have limited the real-world application. Here we demonstrate the plasmonic metapixel; which permits high reflection capability whilst providing vivid, polarization switchable, wide color gamut filtering. Ultra-thin nanostructured metal-insulator-metal geometries result in the excitation of hybridized absorption modes across the visible spectrum. These modes include surface plasmons and quasi-guided modes, and by tailoring the absorption modes to exist either side of target wavelengths, we achieve pixels with polarization dependent multicolor reflection on mirror-like surfaces. Because the target wavelength is not part of a plasmonic process, subtractive color filtering and mirror-like reflection occurs. We demonstrate wide color-range pixels, RGB pixel designs, and in-plane Gaussian profile pixels that have the potential to enable new functionality beyond that of a conventional ‘square’ pixel.