Plasmonic metamaterials


Head of line: Dr. Alejandro Martinez


Research activities

This research line is mainly focused on the design and characterization of advanced micro- and nano-photonic devices based on plasmonic metamaterials and other complex electromagnetic structures. Metamaterials provide a powerful route to control light propagation at will, giving rise not only to novel and unexpected phenomena, but also paving the way towards revolutionary photonic devices, such as ultra-sensitive sensors or subwavelength-scale all-optical devices. Since metamaterials usually consist of arrays of metallic meta-atoms, their response at visible and infrared wavelengths is dominated by plasmon resonances. Therefore, this research activity also involves the study of the plasmonic response of metallic nanostructures as well as the design of such structures to get novel features.

The final goal is to implement all these novel photonic micro- and nano-structures on silicon photonics circuits, therefore making use of the fabrication facilities available at NTC. Plasmonic metamaterials can lead to some features not achievable using conventional dielectric media, such as component miniaturization beyond the diffraction limit. Conversely, the use of an integrated optics platform can extremely benefit the fields of plasmonics and metamaterials.

But not only plasmonic nanostructures can improve the performance of current state-of-the-art silicon photonic chips. Recently, optomechanics has revealed itself as a research hot-topic since it provide the adequate mechanisms to make light and sound interact at the nanoscale. By means of the FET-Open project TAILPHOX, started on May 2009, we launched also research activities on optomechanical (or phoxonic) crystals in a silicon integrated platform. We are convinced that in future nanophotonic chips light will to interact with free-electrons in metals (via plasmons) as well as with mechanical vibrations (in suspended nanostructures via optomechanical forces). Therefore, the integration of plasmonic and nanomechanical components onto silicon-photonics chips is a key step towards future nanophotonic chips, which is a goal pursued in our research line.

We are also interested in transformation optics, which has shaped up a revolutionary electromagnetic design paradigm allowing for designing advanced photonic functionalities such as cloaks. Our interest is also to extend such a paradigm to other physical fields such as acoustics, mechanics and plasmonics, in close relationship with the development of optomechanical nanostructures, so that transformation rules can be applied to all the different fields playing a role in future multifunctional photonic chips.

Finally, we have also become interested in nanoantennas as a way to convert guided into propagating fields in an efficient way. Specifically, we are trying to implement novel nanoantennas that allow manipulating polarization states at the nanoscale. Since such nanoantennas are also implemented on silicon photonics, they will also contribute to improve the performance of current state-of-the-art silicon photonics chips.

In summary, we are working along five research fields (Plasmonics, Metamaterials, Optomechanics, Transformation Optics, and Nanoantennas) with the ultimate goal of paving the way towards future, multifunctional silicon photonic chips.

Plasmonics Metamaterials
Transformation optics Optomechanics
Nanoantennas