The propagation of light in layers of vertically aligned nanowires is determined by their unique and extreme optical properties. Depending on the nanowire filling fraction and their diameter, layers of nanowires form strongly birefringent media. This large birefringence gives rise to sharp angle dependent peaks in polarized reflection. We demonstrate experimentally the tunability of the reflection by adding shells of SiO2 with thicknesses ranging from 10 nm to 30 nm around the nanowires. The strong modification of the reflection peaks renders nanowire layers as a promising candidate for sensing applications.

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