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Tutorial L: Metamaterials and Plasmonics - From Fundamentals to Applications 
November 30, 2014   8:30am - 5:00pm

  • David Smith will provide an overview of the physics and development of metamaterials. The rapid growth of metamaterials has shown how detrimental material absorption and losses can be, rendering most of these blockbuster experiments impractical as routes for competitive devices or practical applications. The presentation will explore alternative applications and phenomena for optical metamaterials which provide a far more promising path to practicality. In particular, optical metamaterials that exploit surface plasmons can dramatically enhance optical fields and form the platform for novel and advantageous absorbing or nonlinear optical media, as well as new and reconfigurable diffractive optics. This segment will focus on those configurations that provide useful functionality while mitigating losses and other deleterious properties.
  • Shuang Zhang will discuss metasurfaces, which consist of a monolayer of plasmonic structures capable of arbitrarily controlling the wave front of light. Metasurfaces show great promises for bridging the gap between the fundamental research of the artificial structures and the real-world applications. Compared to bulky 3D metamaterials, the ultrathin nature of the metasurfaces significantly eases the fabrication procedures, meanwhile bypassing the loss issue. This segment will review the recent development in metasurfaces with an emphasis on the design of the metasurfaces and some novel metasurface-based photonic devices. The presentation will explore the concept of phase discontinuity and wave-front control using metasurfaces, the interesting physics enabled by metasurfaces, and novel photonic devices based on metasurfaces including ultrathin flat lenses, broadband phase plates, switchable surface plasmon couplers, and high-definition 3D holograms.
  • Harry Atwater will outline plasmonics fundamentals including modal confinement and dispersion relations for guided wave and resonant structures, which lead to important applications such as sub-wavelength optical devices, and sensing and energy harvesting based on metallic nanoparticles. New directions for plasmonics by examining the relationship between plasmon modes and active elements will be presented. Active tuning of the complex refractive index in devices by optical pumping, electro-optic tuning or field-effect modulation of the electron density enables active devices to be realized. The presentation will offer examples in chip-based waveguide plasmonic devices comprised of noble metal materials and also structures based on plasmonic modes in 2D materials such as graphene. Opportunities to observe quantum coherent states in plasmonic structures will be discussed, showing how plasmonic structures enable entanglement or coherent superposition states of single plasmons in chip-based plasmonic devices.
  • David Miller will discuss the requirements and opportunities for nanophotonics in information processing. Optical interconnects will need to play a critical role if information processing technology is to continue to scale, because they offer the possibility of reducing energy per bit and increasing density in communications To exploit this opportunity, advanced, integrated, compact, low-energy optics and optoelectronics are required. Various micro- and nano-photonic technologies including plasmonics and metamaterials offer new technology approaches. Metallic optical devices offer the unique opportunity of subwavelength manipulation and concentration of light into and out of optoelectronics, but face the challenge of loss, which can substantially increase operating energy. Therefore, other approaches such as dielectric structures remain competitive. Recently, there has been growing progress in devices optimally designed to perform arbitrary desired optical functions, such as mode separation, and in self-configuring and self-optimizing optics, all of which extend what nanophotonics generally could offer. Such concepts promise new possibilities in metallic and dielectric approaches to highly functional optical systems for interconnects and other applications. This concluding presentation will discuss both the requirements of such optical and optoelectronic devices and the possibilities and opportunities for these various novel approaches.

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