Loss compensation in metamaterials and plasmonics with virtual gain [Invited]

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Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Metamaterials and plasmonics potentially offer an ultimate control of light to enable a rich number of non-conventional devices and a testbed for many novel physical phenomena. However, optical loss in metamaterials and plasmonics is a fundamental challenge rendering many conceived applications not viable in practical settings. Many approaches have been proposed so far to mitigate losses, including geometric tailoring, active gain media, nonlinear effects, metasurfaces, dielectrics, and 2D materials. Here, we review recent efforts on the less explored and unique territory of “virtual gain” as an alternative approach to combat optical losses. We define the virtual gain as the result of any extrinsic amplification mechanism in a medium. Our aim is to accentuate virtual gain not only as a promising candidate to address the material challenge, but also as a design concept with broader impacts.

Publication Title

Optical Materials Express