Metamaterials, plasmonics and optical nanocircuits

Wednesday, October 4, 2006 - 9:30am - 10:20am
EE/CS 3-180
Nader Engheta (University of Pennsylvania)
Metamaterials, which are engineered composite media with unconventional electromagnetic and optical properties, can be formed by
embedding sub-wavelength inclusions as artificial molecules in host media in order to exhibit specific desired response
functions. They can have exciting characteristics in manipulating and processing RF, microwave, IR and optical signal
information. Various features of these media are being investigated and some of the fundamental concepts and theories and modeling
of wave interaction with a variety of structures and systems involving these material media are being developed. From our
analyses and simulations, we have found that the devices and components formed by these media may be ultracompact and
subwavelength, while supporting resonant and propagating modes. This implies that in such structures RF, microwave, IR and optical
signals can be controlled and reshaped beyond the diffraction limits, leading to the possibility of miniaturization of optical
interconnects and design and control of near-field devices and processors for the next generation of information technology. This
may also lead to nano-architectures capable of signal processing in the near-field optics, which has the potential for significant
size reduction in information processing and storage. Furthermore, the nanostructures made by pairing these media can be compact
resonant components, resulting in either enhanced wave signatures and higher directivity or in transparency and scattering
reduction. We are also interested in nano-optics of metamaterial structures that effectively act as lumped
nano-circuit-elements. These may provide nano-inductors, nano-capacitors, nano-resistors, and nanodiodes as part of field
nanocircuits in the optical regimes or optical-field nanoelectronics--, and can provide roadmaps to more complex nanocircuits
and systems formed by collection of such nanostructures. All these characteristics may offer various potential applications in
high-resolution near-field imaging and microscopy, enhancement or reduction of wave interaction with nano-particles and
nano-apertures, nanoantennas and arrays, far-field sub-diffraction optical microscopy (FSOM), nano-circuit-filters, optical data
storage, nano-beam patterning and spectroscopy, optical-molecular signaling and optical coupling and interfacing with cells, to
name a few. In this talk, we present an overview of the concepts, salient features, recent developments, and some of the
potential applications of these metamaterials and structures, and will forecast some futures ideas and directions in this area.
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