Plasmon Injection to Compensate and Control Losses in Negative Index Metamaterials

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© 2015 American Physical Society. © 2015 American Physical Society. Metamaterials have introduced a whole new world of unusual materials with functionalities that cannot be attained in naturally occurring material systems by mimicking and controlling the natural phenomena at subwavelength scales. However, the inherent absorption losses pose a fundamental challenge to the most fascinating applications of metamaterials. Based on a novel plasmon injection (PI or Π) scheme, we propose a coherent optical amplification technique to compensate losses in metamaterials. Although the proof of concept device here operates under normal incidence only, our proposed scheme can be generalized to an arbitrary form of incident waves. The Π scheme is fundamentally different from major optical amplification schemes. It does not require a gain medium, interaction with phonons, or any nonlinear medium. The Π scheme allows for loss-free metamaterials. It is ideally suited for mitigating losses in metamaterials operating in the visible spectrum and is scalable to other optical frequencies. These findings open the possibility of reviving the early dreams of making "magical" metamaterials from scratch.

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Physical Review Letters