Nonlinear and wavelength-tunable plasmonic metasurfaces and devices
Wavelength-tunable optical response from solid-state optoelectronic devices is a desired feature for a variety of applications such as spectroscopy, laser emission tuning, and telecommunications. Nonlinear optical response, on the other hand, has an important role in modern photonic functionalities, including efficient frequency conversions, all-optical signal processing, and ultrafast switching. This study presents the development of optical devices with wavelength tunable or nonlinear optical functionality based on plasmonic effects. For the first part of this study, widely wavelength tunable optical bandpass filters based on the unique properties of long-range surface plasmon polaritons (LR SPP) are presented. Planar metal stripe waveguides surrounded by two different cladding layers that have dissimilar refractive index dispersions were used to develop a wide wavelength tuning. The concept was demonstrated using a set of index-matching fluids and over 200nm of wavelength tuning was achieved with only 0.004 of index variation. For practical application of the proposed concept, a thermo-optic polymer was used to develop a widely tunable thermo-optic bandpass filter and over 220 nm of wavelength tuning was achieved with only 8 ºC of temperature variation. Another novel approach to produce a widely wavelength tunable optical response for free-space optical applications involves integrating plasmonic metasurfaces with quantum-electronic engineered semiconductor layers for giant electro-optic effect, which is proposed and experimentally demonstrated in the second part of this study. Coupling of surface plasmon modes formed by plasmonic nanoresonators with Stark tunable intersubband transitions in multi-quantum well structures induced by applying bias voltages through the semiconductor layer was used to develop tunable spectral responses in the mid-infrared range. Experimentally, over 310 nm of spectral peak tuning around 7 μm of wavelength with 10 ns response time was achieved. As the final part of this study, highly nonlinear metasurfaces based on coupling of electromagnetically engineered plasmonic nanoresonators with quantum-engineered intersubband nonlinearities are proposed and experimentally demonstrated. In the proof-of-concept demonstration, an effective nonlinear susceptibility over 50 nm/V was measured and, after further optimization, over 480 nm/V was measured for second harmonic generation under normal incidence. The proposed concept shows that it is possible to engineer virtually any element of the nonlinear susceptibility tensor of the nonlinear metasurface.