Plasmonic and metamaterial based nano/micro-structured materials enable spectrally selective resonant absorption, where the resonant bandwidth and absorption intensity can be engineered by controlling the size and geometry of nanostructures. Here, we demonstrate a simple, lithography-free approach for obtaining a resonant and dynamically tunable broadband absorber based on vanadium dioxide (VO2) phase transition. Using planar layered thin film structures, where top layer is chosen to be an ultrathin (20 nm) VO2 film, we demonstrate broadband IR light absorption tuning (from ∼90% to ∼30% in measured absorption) over the entire mid-wavelength infrared spectrum. Our numerical and experimental results indicate that the bandwidth of the absorption bands can be controlled by changing the dielectric spacer layer thickness. Broadband tunable absorbers can find applications in absorption filters, thermal emitters, thermophotovoltaics and sensing.
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