Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems

Date:
July 2, 2014
Source:
University of Texas at Austin
Summary:
Scientists have created a nonlinear mirror that could advance laser systems. The metamaterials were created with nonlinear optical response a million times as strong as traditional nonlinear materials.

Scientists from the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin realized a 400-nanometer-thick nonlinear mirror that reflects radiation at twice the input light frequency.
Credit: Cockrell School of Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin

Researchers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin have created a new nonlinear metasurface, or meta mirror, that could one day enable the miniaturization of laser systems.

The invention, called a "nonlinear mirror" by the researchers, could help advance nonlinear laser systems that are used for chemical sensing, explosives detection, biomedical research and potentially many other applications. The researchers' study will be published in the July 3 issue of Nature.

The metamaterials were created with nonlinear optical response a million times as strong as traditional nonlinear materials and demonstrated frequency conversion in films 100 times as thin as human hair using light intensity comparable with that of a laser pointer.

Nonlinear optical effects are widely used by engineers and scientists to generate new light frequencies, perform laser diagnostics and advance quantum computing. Due to the small extent of optical nonlinearity in naturally occurring materials, high light intensities and long propagation distances in nonlinear crystals are typically required to produce detectable nonlinear optical effects.

The research team led by UT Austin's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering professors Mikhail Belkin and Andrea Alu, in collaboration with colleagues from the Technical University of Munich, has created thin-film nonlinear metamaterials with optical response many orders of magnitude larger than that of traditional nonlinear materials. The scientists demonstrated this functionality by realizing a 400-nanometer-thick nonlinear mirror that reflects radiation at twice the input light frequency. For the given input intensity and structure thickness, the new nonlinear metamaterial produces approximately 1 million times larger frequency-doubled output, compared with similar structures based on conventional materials.

"This work opens a new paradigm in nonlinear optics by exploiting the unique combination of exotic wave interaction in metamaterials and of quantum engineering in semiconductors," said Professor Andrea Alu.

The metamaterial at the basis of this unusual optical response consists of a sequence of thin layers made of indium, gallium and arsenic on the one hand and aluminum, indium and arsenic on the other. The researchers stacked approximately 100 of these layers, each between 1 nanometer and 12 nanometers thick, and sandwiched them between a layer of gold at the bottom and a pattern of asymmetric gold nanocrosses on top. The thin semiconductor layers confine electrons into desired quantum states, and gold nanocrosses resonate at input and output frequencies to enable the the nonlinear optical response of the mirror.

The realized mirror converts light from a wavelength of 8 micrometers to 4 micrometers; however, the structures can be tailored to work at other wavelengths, from near-infrared to mid-infrared to terahertz.

"Alongside frequency doubling, our structures may be designed for sum- or difference-frequency generation, as well as a variety of four-wave mixing processes," said UT Austin graduate student Jongwon Lee, the lead author on the paper.

"Our work unveils a pathway towards the development of ultrathin, highly nonlinear optical elements for efficient frequency conversion that will operate without stringent phase-matching constraints of bulk nonlinear crystals," said Professor Mikhail Belkin.

Belkin and Alu led a team of researchers that included electrical and computer engineering graduate students Jongwon Lee, Mykhailo Tymchenko and Feng Lu. Pai-Yen Chen and Christos Argyropoulos, who graduated from the Cockrell School in 2013, also contributed to the paper. The semiconductor material was grown at the Walter Schottky Institute, Technical University of Munich.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas at Austin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jongwon Lee, Mykhailo Tymchenko, Christos Argyropoulos, Pai-Yen Chen, Feng Lu, Frederic Demmerle, Gerhard Boehm, Markus-Christian Amann, Andrea Alω, Mikhail A. Belkin. Giant nonlinear response from plasmonic metasurfaces coupled to intersubband transitions. Nature, 2014; 511 (7507): 65 DOI: 10.1038/nature13455

Cite This Page:

University of Texas at Austin. "Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702170036.htm>.
University of Texas at Austin. (2014, July 2). Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702170036.htm
University of Texas at Austin. "Researchers invent 'meta mirror' to help advance nonlinear optical systems." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140702170036.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) — The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) — Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) — The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

More Coverage


Highly Non-Linear Metamaterials for Laser Technology: A Million Times Better

July 2, 2014 — Nonlinear optical materials are widely used in laser systems. However, high light intensity and long propagation are required to produce strong nonlinear optical effects. Researchers have now created ... read more
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins