Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP7

META-PHOT Result In Brief

Project ID: 293569
Funded under: FP7-PEOPLE
Country: Germany

The exciting world of optical metamaterials

Nonlinear optics has potential applications in information processing, light collection for solar energy harvesting and sensing. EU-funded researchers have further expanded their scope in engineered metamaterials with unconventional properties.
The exciting world of optical metamaterials
Engineered metamaterials can have properties not available in natural materials for applications involving light control. Researchers have already developed metamaterials whose linear responses could be used to produce improved sensors and even, to permit invisibility by cloaking.

In the same way, research work on nonlinear metamaterials could revolutionise the non-linear optics field. Within the EU-funded project META-PHOT (Light-matter interaction in smart optical materials), researchers have re-evaluated many of the established rules of non-linear optics with a focus on light-mater interaction.

Experimentally, META-PHOT researchers struggled to create an ultrathin lens with a thickness only a fraction of the used light wavelength. They carefully designed nanometre-sized plasmonic antennas that could be arranged to generate a special polarisation state of light, circular polarisation.

Based on this nano-antenna design, the lens' focal length depends on the polarisation state making the optical system easily reconfigurable. For their experiments, the researchers used a tuneable laser system that provided the required wavelength to evaluate its performance.

In addition to the ultrathin lens, the coupler of surface electromagnetic waves has the potential to excite directional waves along the metasurface. However, beyond the enhanced light-matter interaction, there are many other intriguing phenomena in nonlinear metasurfaces awaiting exploration.

META-PHOT activities have highlighted the potential of metamaterials in designing custom, non-linear surfaces. This is bound to broaden the horizon for nano-optical devices.

Related information

Keywords

Optical metamaterials, nonlinear optics, light-matter interaction, plasmonic antennas, tuneable laser system
Record Number: 175034 / Last updated on: 2016-01-28
Domain: Industrial Technologies