New Hybrid Nanophotonic Materials Based on Nanoantennas and Metasurfaces

Christos Argyropoulos (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

The 21st Century belongs to photonics research and harnessing light in an efficient way will be the key to several life changing technologies, from energy to security imaging, from biotechnologies to low-cost precision manufacturing, from the internet to quantum-level information processing. Many important industries, such as chip manufacturing, healthcare, space, defense and automotive, rely on the same fundamental mastery of light. For example, it is envisioned that the next generation information processing devices will operate with photons rather than electrons. In these systems, information will travel with ultrafast operating speed, low power, and broad bandwidth.

One of the key challenges to this progress is that it is extremely difficult to design scalable, compact, chip-based photonic technologies, due to fundamental physical limitations in the used materials, such as the diffraction limit of light and extremely weak light–matter interactions at the nanoscale. In addition, the optical counterparts of widespread nonlinear electronic components, such as diodes, transistors, mixers, and modulators, remain elusive. In addition, so far, most of the photonic research efforts have focused on the design of wavelength scale photonic devices for guided waves and very little work has been performed on subwavelength nanophotonic materials interacting with waves propagating in free space, despite the fact that devices based on these new nanomaterials can find important applications in the routing and manipulation of waves in free space, extremely compact and ultrathin integrated nanophotonic components, and new ultrasensitive sensor devices.

In this work, theoretical and experimental efforts will be focused on the development of new planar hybrid nanophotonic materials based on nanoantennas and arrays of them forming metasurfaces. These nanostructures hold great promise for enhancing, controlling, confining, and manipulating light-matter interactions along ultrathin surfaces and nanoscale regions. They can efficiently control the intensity, phase, and polarization state of photons or, equivalently, light. Exploring how plasmonic metasurfaces and nanoantennas can affect the light-matter interactions at the nanoscale provides useful roadmaps for how some of the quantum and nonlinear features of light can be engineered by these special platforms. The main objective of the current project will be to theoretically study and experimentally realize new hybrid nanoantenna and metasurface designs to achieve enhanced nonlinear and quantum effects.


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