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Title: Compact nanomechanical plasmonic phase modulators

Highly confined optical energy in plasmonic devices is advancing miniaturization in photonics. However, for mode sizes approaching ≈10 nm, the energy increasingly shifts into the metal, raising losses and hindering active phase modulation. Here, we propose a nanoelectromechanical phase-modulation principle exploiting the extraordinarily strong dependence of the phase velocity of metal–insulator–metal gap plasmons on dynamically variable gap size. We experimentally demonstrate a 23-μm-long non-resonant modulator having a 1.5π rad range, with 1.7 dB excess loss at 780 nm. Analysis shows that by simultaneously decreasing the gap, length and width, an ultracompact-footprint π rad phase modulator can be realized. This is achieved without incurring the extra loss expected for plasmons confined in a decreasing gap, because the increasing phase-modulation strength from a narrowing gap offsets rising propagation losses. Such small, high-density electrically controllable components may find applications in optical switch fabrics and reconfigurable plasmonic optics.
Authors:
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
1239326
DOE Contract Number:
AC02-06CH11357
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nature Photonics; Journal Volume: 9
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Argonne National Lab. (ANL), Argonne, IL (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST); Air Force Research Laboratory - Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR); USDOE Office of Science - Office of Basic Energy Sciences
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
71 CLASSICAL AND QUANTUM MECHANICS, GENERAL PHYSICS