Kosmas L. Tsakmakidis

Quantum Condensed Matter Photonics @ NKUA

Active nanoplasmonic metamaterials & metamaterials with quantum gain

Photonic metamaterials allow for a range of exciting applications unattainable with ordinary dielectrics. However, the metallic nature of their meta-atoms may result in increased optical losses. Gain-enhanced metamaterials are a potential solution to this problem, but the conception of realistic, three-dimensional designs is a challenging task.

In this theme, starting from fundamental electrodynamic and quantum mechanical equations, we establish and deploy rigorous theoretical models (based on the Maxwell-Bloch equations) for the spatial and temporal interaction of lightwaves with free and bound electrons inside and around metallic (nano-) structures and gain media. The derived numerical frameworks allow us to self-consistently study the dynamics and impact of the coherent plasmon–gain interaction, nonlinear saturation, field enhancement, radiative damping and spatial dispersion.

Using numerical pump–probe experiments on gain-enhanced plasmonic nanostructures (with dye molecule inclusions), we investigate the build-up of the inversion profile and the formation of the plasmonic modes in a low-Q cavity. We aim at conceiving realistic structures exhibiting full loss compensation even in the negative-index regime. Our computational results provide a deep insight into how internal processes affect the overall optical properties of active photonic metamaterials fostering new approaches to the design of practical, loss-compensated plasmonic nanostructures.

  1. O. Hess and K. L. Tsakmakidis, "Metamaterials with quantum gain", Science 339, 654 (2013). [PDF]
  2. O. Hess, J. B. Pendry, S. A. Maier, R. F. Oulton, J. M. Hamm, and K. L. Tsakmakidis, "Active nanoplasmonic metamaterials", Nature Materials 11, 573 (2012). [PDF]