The manipulation of light by conventional optical components such as lenses, prisms, and waveplates involves engineering of the wavefront as it propagates through an optically thick medium. A unique class of flat optical components with high functionality can be designed by introducing abrupt phase shifts into the optical path, utilizing the resonant response of arrays of scatterers with deeply subwavelength thickness. As an application of this concept, we report a theoretical and experimental study of birefringent arrays of two-dimensional (V- and Y-shaped) optical antennas which support two orthogonal charge-oscillation modes and serve as broadband, anisotropic optical elements that can be used to locally tailor the amplitude, phase, and polarization of light. The degree of optical anisotropy can be designed by controlling the interference between the waves scattered by the antenna modes; in particular, we observe a striking effect in which the anisotropy disappears as a result of destructive interference. These properties are captured by a simple, physical model in which the antenna modes are treated as independent, orthogonally oriented harmonic oscillators.
Metallic components such as plasmonic gratings and plasmonic lenses are routinely used to convert free-space beams into propagating surface plasmon polaritons and vice versa. This generation of couplers handles relatively simple light beams, such as plane waves or Gaussian beams. Here we present a powerful generalization of this strategy to more complex wave-fronts, such as vortex beams that carry orbital angular momentum, also known as topological charge. This approach is based on the principle of holography: the coupler is designed as the interference pattern of the incident vortex beam and focused surface plasmon polaritons. We have integrated these holographic plasmonic interfaces into commercial silicon photodiodes, and demonstrated that such devices can selectively detect the orbital angular momentum of light. This holographic approach is very general and can be used to selectively couple free-space beams into any type of surface wave, such as focused surface plasmon polaritons and plasmonic Airy beams.
We analyze the temperature performance of five terahertz (THz)-frequency quantum cascade lasers based on a three-quantum-well resonant-phonon depopulation design as a function of operating frequency in the 2.3-3.8-THz range. We find evidence that the device performance is limited by the interplay between two factors: 1) optical phonon scattering of thermal electrons, which dominates at shorter wavelengths, and 2) parasitic current, which dominates at longer wavelengths. We present a simple model that provides an accurate estimate of the parasitic current in these devices and predicts the dependence of the threshold current density on temperature.
The synthesis of CdS nanostructures (bands, wires, irregular structures) was investigated by systematic variation of temperature and gas pressure, to deduce a comprehensive growth phase diagram. The high quality nanowires were further investigated and show stoichiometric composition of CdS as well as a single-crystalline lattice without any evidence of extended defects. The luminescence of individual nanowires at low excitation shows a strong near band edge emission at 2.41 eV indicating a low point defect concentration. Sharp peaks evolve at higher laser power and finally dominate the luminescence spectrum. The power dependence of the spectrum clearly shows all the characteristics of amplified stimulated emission and lasing action in the nanowire cavity. A low threshold was determined as 10 kW cm(-2) for lasing at room temperature with a slope efficiency of 5-10% and a Q factor of up to 1200. The length and diameter relations necessary for lasing of individual nanowires was investigated.
We report on the demonstration of an array of master-oscillator power-amplifier quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) operating in single-mode at different wavelengths between 9.2 and 9.8 mu m. In each device, the output of a distributed feedback QCL is injected into a tapered QCL section which acts as an amplifier while maintaining a high beam quality due to adiabatic mode spreading. All array elements feature longitudinal as well as transverse single-mode emission at peak powers between 0.8 and 3.9W at room temperature. The high output power and excellent beam quality render the array highly suitable for stand-off spectroscopy applications. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4773377]
We present a simplified numerical method to solve for the current distribution in a V-shaped antenna excited by an electric field with arbitrary polarization. The scattered far-field amplitude, phase, and polarization of the antennas are extracted. The calculation technique presented here is an efficient method for probing the large design parameter space of such antennas, which have been proposed as basic building blocks for the design of ultrathin plasmonic metasurfaces. Our calculation is based on the integral equation method of moments and is validated by comparison to the results of finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) simulations. The computation time is approximately five orders of magnitude less than for FDTD simulations. This speed-up relies mainly on the use of the thin-wire approximation, whose domain of validity is discussed. This method can be generalized to more complex geometries such as zigzag antennas.
The spectroscopic characterization of individual nanostructures is of fundamental importance to understanding a broad range of physical and chemical processes. One general and powerful technique that addresses this aim is dark-field microscopy, with which the scattered light from an individual structure can be analyzed with minimal background noise. We present the spectroscopic analysis of individual plasmonic nanostructures using dark-field illumination with incidence nearly normal to the substrate. We show that, compared to large incidence angle approaches, the near-normal incidence approach provides significantly higher signal-to-background ratios and reduced retardation field effects. To demonstrate the utility of this technique, we characterize an individual chemically synthesized gold nanoshell and a lithographically defined heptamer exhibiting a pronounced Fano-like resonance. We show that the line shape of the latter strongly depends on the incidence angle. Near-normal incidence dark-field microscopy can be used to characterize a broad range of molecules and nanostructures and can be adapted to most microscopy setups.
Experiments on ultrathin anisotropic arrays of subwavelength optical antennas display out-of-plane refraction. A powerful three-dimensional (3D) extension of the recently demonstrated generalized laws of refraction and reflection shows that the interface imparts a tangential wavevector to the incident light leading to anomalous beams, which in general are noncoplanar with the incident beam. The refracted beam direction can be controlled by varying the angle between the plane of incidence and the antenna array.
Plasmonic nanoparticle assemblies are a materials platform in which optical modes, resonant frequencies, and near-field intensities can be specified by the number and position of nanoparticles in a cluster. A current challenge is to achieve clusters with higher yields and new types of shapes. In this Letter, we show that a broad range of plasmonic nanoshell nanoclusters can be assembled onto a lithographically defined elastomeric substrate with relatively high yields using templated assembly. We assemble and measure the optical properties of three cluster types: Fano-resonant heptamers, linear chains, and rings of nanoparticles. The yield of heptamer clusters is measured to be over 30%. The assembly of plasmonic nanoclusters on an elastomer paves the way for new classes of plasmonic nanocircuits and colloidal metamaterials that can be transfer-printed onto various substrate media.
A three-dimensional extension of the recently demonstrated generalization of the laws of refraction and reflection was investigated for both flat and curved metasurfaces. We found that out-of-plane refraction occurs for a metasurface that imparts a wavevector out of the plane of incidence onto the incident light beam. Metasurfaces provide arbitrary control over the direction of refraction, and yield new critical angles for both reflection and refraction. A spherical metasurface with phase discontinuities leads to unconventional light bending compared to standard refractive lenses. (C) 2012 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). [DOI: 10.1117/1.JNP.6.063532]
In this paper, we analyze the sensitivity enhancement attainable by combining a wavelength modulation (WM) technique to integrated cavity output spectroscopy (ICOS), pointing out how the spectrometer's parameters and the acquisition strategy affect the detection noise in both techniques. We point out that WM-ICOS is mainly limited by the slow scan rate that it requires, compared to regular ICOS. Nevertheless, according to our analysis, WM can still appreciably improve the SNR of an ultrasensitive ICOS system, if the cavity transmission is so low that the detector noise is not negligible. In light of these considerations, we directly compare the performance of ICOS and WM-ICOS in a high sensitivity ambient-air methane detection experiment, finding a good agreement with the theoretical influence of the various spectrometer parameters.
We show that perfect absorption can be achieved in a system comprising a single lossy dielectric layer of thickness much smaller than the incident wavelength on an opaque substrate by utilizing the nontrivial phase shifts at interfaces between lossy media. This design is implemented with an ultra-thin (similar to lambda/65) vanadium dioxide (VO2) layer on sapphire, temperature tuned in the vicinity of the VO2 insulator-to-metal phase transition, leading to 99.75% absorption at lambda = 11.6 mu m. The structural simplicity and large tuning range (from similar to 80% to 0.25% in reflectivity) are promising for thermal emitters, modulators, and bolometers. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.4767646]
A flat optical device that generates optical vortices with a variety of topological charges is demonstrated. This device spatially modulates light beams over a distance much smaller than the wavelength in the direction of propagation by means of an array of V-shaped plasmonic antennas with sub-wavelength separation. Optical vortices are shown to develop after a sub-wavelength propagation distance from the array, a feature that has major potential implications for integrated optics. (C) 2012 American Institute of Physics. [doi: 10.1063/1.3673334]
We demonstrate a three-section, electrically pulsed quantum cascade laser which consists of a Fabry-Perot section placed between two sampled grating distributed Bragg reflectors. The device is current-tuned between ten single modes spanning a range of 0.46 mu m (63 cm(-1)), from 8.32 to 8.78 mu m. The peak optical output power exceeds 280 mW for nine of the modes. (C) 2012 Optical Society of America
We demonstrate that tunable attractive (bonding) and repulsive (anti-bonding) forces can arise in highly asymmetric structures coupled to external radiation, a consequence of the bonding/anti-bonding level repulsion of guided-wave resonances that was first predicted in symmetric systems. Our focus is a geometry consisting of a photonic-crystal (holey) membrane suspended above an unpatterned layered substrate, supporting planar waveguide modes that can couple via the periodic modulation of the holey membrane. Asymmetric geometries have a clear advantage in ease of fabrication and experimental characterization compared to symmetric double-membrane structures. We show that the asymmetry can also lead to unusual behavior in the force magnitudes of a bonding/antibonding pair as the membrane separation changes, including nonmonotonic dependences on the separation. We propose a computational method that obtains the entire force spectrum via a single time-domain simulation, by Fourier-transforming the response to a short pulse and thereby obtaining the frequency-dependent stress tensor. We point out that by operating with two, instead of a single frequency, these evanescent forces can be exploited to tune the spring constant of the membrane without changing its equilibrium separation. (C) 2011 Optical Society of America
In 1948, Hendrik Casimir predicted that a generalized version of van der Waals forces would arise between two metal plates due to quantum fluctuations of the electromagnetic field. These forces become significant in micromechanical systems at submicrometre scales, such as in the adhesion between movable parts. The Casimir force, through a close connection to classical photonics, can depend strongly on the shapes and compositions of the objects, stimulating a decades-long search for geometries in which the force behaves very differently from the monotonic attractive force first predicted by Casimir. Recent theoretical and experimental developments have led to a new understanding of the force in complex microstructured geometries, including through recent theoretical predictions of Casimir repulsion between vacuum-separated metals, the stable suspension of objects and unusual non-additive and temperature effects, as well as experimental observations of repulsion in fluids, nonadditive forces in nanotrench surfaces and the influence of new material choices.
We propose an optomechanical structure consisting of a photonic-crystal (holey) membrane suspended above a layered silicon-on-insulator substrate in which resonant bonding/antibonding optical forces created by externally incident light from above enable all-optical control and actuation of stiction effects induced by the Casimir force. In this way, one can control how the Casimir force is expressed in the mechanical dynamics of the membrane, not by changing the Casimir force directly but by optically modifying the geometry and counteracting the mechanical spring constant to bring the system in or out of regimes where Casimir physics dominate. The same optical response (reflection spectrum) of the membrane to the incident light can be exploited to accurately measure the effects of the Casimir force on the equilibrium separation of the membrane. (C) 2011 American Institute of Physics. [doi:10.1063/1.3589119]
We designed a new class of plasmonic gratings that generate multiple free-space beams in arbitrary directions from a point source of surface waves, using a phenomenological model that accurately predicts their far-field, in amplitude, phase and polarization. We fabricated such gratings on the facets of semiconductor lasers. The plasmonic gratings proposed here are generally relevant to the interfacing of nanoscale optical components to free-space beams. The model introduced here can be used to design general two-dimensional plasmonic gratings.
A multiwavelength array of distributed feedback (DFB) quantum cascade lasers (QCLs) that spans lambda = 8.28 to 9.62 mu m is wavelength beam combined (WBC) using both single-grating and dual-grating designs. WBC with a single grating results in a pointing error of 3-times the beam divergence for a single laser and arises from the nonlinear dispersion of the grating. By adding a second grating to compensate for the nonlinear dispersion, the pointing error is reduced to only 13% of the beam divergence for a single laser. A transceiver based on the dual-grating-WBC QCL was used to measure the transmittance of a polymer sheet placed between itself and a retroreflector over a round-trip distance of 70 meters. (C) 2011 Optical Society of America
DNA nanotechnology provides a versatile foundation for the chemical assembly of nanostructures. Plasmonic nanoparticle assemblies are of particular interest because they can be tailored to exhibit a broad range of electromagnetic phenomena. In this Letter, we report the assembly of DNA-functionalized nanoparticles into heteropentamer clusters, which consist of a smaller gold sphere surrounded by a ring of four larger spheres. Magnetic and Fano-like resonances are observed in individual clusters. The DNA plays a dual role: it selectively assembles the clusters in solution and functions as an insulating spacer between the conductive nanoparticles. These particle assemblies can be generalized to a new class of DNA-enabled plasmonic heterostructures that comprise various active and passive materials and other forms of DNA scaffolding.