Saman Jahani, Sangsik Kim, Jonathan Atkinson, Justin C. Wirth, Farid Kalhor, Abdullah Al Noman, Ward D. Newman, Prashant Shekhar, Kyunghun Han, Vien Van, Raymond G. DeCorby, Lukas Chrostowski, Minghao Qi, and Zubin Jacob. 5/14/2018.

Controlling evanescent waves using silicon photonic all-dielectric metamaterials for dense integration

. Nature Communications, 9.

Ultra-compact, densely integrated optical components manufactured on a CMOS-foundry platform are highly desirable for optical information processing and electronic-photonic co-integration. However, the large spatial extent of evanescent waves arising from nanoscale confinement, ubiquitous in silicon photonic devices, causes significant cross-talk and scattering loss. Here, we demonstrate that anisotropic all-dielectric metamaterials open a new degree of freedom in total internal reflection to shorten the decay length of evanescent waves. We experimentally show the reduction of cross-talk by greater than 30 times and the bending loss by greater than 3 times in densely integrated, ultra-compact photonic circuit blocks. Our prototype all-dielectric metamaterial-waveguide achieves a low propagation loss of approximately 3.7±1.0 dB/cm, comparable to those of silicon strip waveguides. Our approach marks a departure from interference-based confinement as in photonic crystals or slot waveguides, which utilize nanoscale field enhancement. Its ability to suppress evanescent waves without substantially increasing the propagation loss shall pave the way for all-dielectric metamaterial-based dense integration.

RyanStarko -Bowes, Jin Dai, Ward D. Newman, Sean Molesky, Limei Qi, Aman Satija, Ying Tsui, Manisha Gupta, Robert Fedosejevs, Sandipan Pramanik, Yi Xuan, and Zubin Jacob. 5/11/2018.

Dual-band quasi-coherent radiative thermal source

. Journal of Quantitative Spectroscopy & Radiative Transfer, 216, Pp. 99-104.

Thermal radiation from an unpatterned object is similar to that of a gray body. The thermal emission is insensitive to polarization, shows only Lambertian angular dependence, and is well modeled as the product of the blackbody distribution and a scalar emissivity over large frequency bands. Here, we design, fabricate and experimentally characterize the spectral, polarization, angular and temperature dependence of a microstructured SiC dual band thermal infrared source; achieving independent control of the frequency and polarization of thermal radiation in two spectral bands. The measured emission of the device in the Reststrahlen band (10.3–12.7 µm) selectively approaches that of a blackbody, peaking at an emissivity of 0.85 at λx=11.75μm and 0.81 at λy=12.25μm. This effect arises due to the thermally excited phonon polaritons in silicon carbide. The control of thermal emission properties exhibited by the design is well suited for applications requiring infrared sources, gas or temperature sensors and nanoscale heat transfer. Our work paves the way for future silicon carbide based thermal metasurfaces.

Jijie Huang, Xuejing Wang, Nicki L. Hogan, Shengxiang Wu, Ping Lu, Zhe Fan, Yaomin Dai, Beibei Zeng, Ryan Starko-Bowes, Jie Jian, Han Wang, Leigang Li, Rohit P. Prasankumar, Dmitry Yarotski, Matthew Sheldon, Hou-Tong Chen, Zubin Jacob, Xinghang Zhang, and Haiyan Wang. 4/27/2018.

Nanoscale Artificial Plasmonic Lattice in Self-Assembled Vertically Aligned Nitride–Metal Hybrid Metamaterials

. Advanced Science.

Nanoscale metamaterials exhibit extraordinary optical properties and are proposed for various technological applications. Here, a new class of novel nanoscale two-phase hybrid metamaterials is achieved by combining two major classes of traditional plasmonic materials, metals (e.g., Au) and transition metal nitrides (e.g., TaN, TiN, and ZrN) in an epitaxial thin film form via the vertically aligned nanocomposite platform. By properly controlling the nucleation of the two phases, the nanoscale artificial plasmonic lattices (APLs) consisting of highly ordered hexagonal close packed Au nanopillars in a TaN matrix are demonstrated. More specifically, uniform Au nanopillars with an average diameter of 3 nm are embedded in epitaxial TaN platform and thus form highly 3D ordered APL nanoscale metamaterials. Novel optical properties include highly anisotropic reflectance, obvious nonlinear optical properties indicating inversion symmetry breaking of the hybrid material, large permittivity tuning and negative permittivity response over a broad wavelength regime, and superior mechanical strength and ductility. The study demonstrates the novelty of the new hybrid plasmonic scheme with great potentials in versatile material selection, and, tunable APL spacing and pillar dimension, all important steps toward future designable hybrid plasmonic materials.

Li-Ping Yang, Hong X. Tang, and Zubin Jacob. 1/22/2018.

Concept of quantum timing jitter and non-Markovian limits in single-photon detection

. Physical Review A, 97.

Single atoms form a model system for understanding the limits of single-photon detection. Here, we develop a non-Markovian theory of single-photon absorption by a two-level atom to place limits on the absorption (transduction) time. We show the existence of a finite rise time in the probability of excitation of the atom during the absorption event which is infinitely fast in previous Markov theories. This rise time is governed by the bandwidth of the atom-field interaction spectrum and leads to a fundamental jitter in time stamping the absorption event. Our theoretical framework captures both the weak and strong atom-field coupling regimes and sheds light on the spectral matching between the interaction bandwidth and single-photon Fock state pulse spectrum. Our work opens questions whether such jitter in the absorption event can be observed in a multimode realistic single-photon detector. Finally, we also shed light on the fundamental differences between linear and nonlinear detector outputs for single-photon Fock-state vs coherent-state pulses.

See also: Photonics, Quantum


S. Lang, G. Sharma, S. Molesky, P. U. Kränzien, T. Jalas, Z. Jacob, A., and M. Eich. 10/24/2017.

Dynamic measurement of near-field radiative heat transfer

. Scientific Reports, 7.

Super-Planckian near-field radiative heat transfer allows effective heat transfer between a hot and a cold body to increase beyond the limits long known for black bodies. Until present, experimental techniques to measure the radiative heat flow relied on steady-state systems. Here, we present a dynamic measurement approach based on the transient plane source technique, which extracts thermal properties from a temperature transient caused by a step input power function. Using this versatile method, that requires only single sided contact, we measure enhanced radiative conduction up to 16 times higher than the blackbody limit on centimeter sized glass samples without any specialized sample preparation or nanofabrication.

See also: Thermal
Sarang Pendharker, Swapnali S. Shende, Zubin Jacob, and Neda Nazemifard. 6/28/2017.

Three-dimensional optical tomography of bitumen and clay association in oil sands tailings

. Fuel, 207, Pp. 262-267.

Alberta has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. Large-scale commercial oil production from oil sands in Alberta for the past 40 years has led to accumulation of tailings water in tailings ponds covering areas ranging over 150 km2. Less than 1% of this area has been certified as reclaimed leading to both economic and environmental consequences. Research is underway to reduce tailings ponds reclamation time from decades to weeks by developing new polymer flocculants, better tailings treatment methods and recovering bitumen from tailings. Information about impact of residual bitumen on the shear strength, trafficability, densificationhydraulic conductivity, consolidation, post-reclamation settlement for oil sands tailings is insufficient. Outstanding challenges exist in understanding bitumen and clay interaction in tailings to help with the development of techniques which accelerate clay sedimentation and enhance bitumen recovery. To shed light on the bitumen-clay interactions, here we develop advanced three-dimensional optical tomography approaches approaching sub-micron resolution. In this paper, we report, the first ever Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscope tomography for Mature Fine Tailings (MFT) samples to reveal bitumen distribution on clay in MFT. We employ a unique evanescent wave illumination approach as opposed to conventional fluorescence microscopy with enhanced axial resolution and high signal-to-noise ratio. The resolution of TIRF is further improved by using an Axial Super-Resolution Evanescent-wave Tomography (AxSET) technique. The information obtained from this study not only gives evidence of the presence of hydrophilic and oleophilic clays but with aid of 3D reconstruction using advance image processing also validates that bitumen is partially coating some of clay surfaces, thus verifying the presence of biwettable clays in oil sands MFT. The advances from our imaging work can aid the development of bitumen recovery techniques for environmental and economic impact.

Prashant Shekhar, Marek Malac, Vaibhav Gaind, Neda Dalili, Al Meldrum, and Zubin Jacob. 3/31/2017.

Momentum-Resolved Electron Energy Loss Spectroscopy for Mapping the Photonic Density of States

. ACS Photonics, 4, 4, Pp. 1009-1014.

Strong nanoscale light–matter interaction is often accompanied by ultraconfined photonic modes and large momentum polaritons existing far beyond the light cone. A direct probe of such phenomena is difficult due to the momentum mismatch of these modes with free space light, however, fast electron probes can reveal the fundamental quantum and spatially dispersive behavior of these excitations. Here, we use momentum-resolved electron energy loss spectroscopy (q-EELS) in a transmission electron microscope to explore the optical response of plasmonic thin films including momentum transfer up to wavevectors (q) significantly exceeding the light line wave vector. We show close agreement between experimental q-EELS maps, theoretical simulations of fast electrons passing through thin films and the momentum-resolved photonic density of states (q-PDOS) dispersion. Although a direct link between q-EELS and the q-PDOS exists for an infinite medium, here we show fundamental differences between q-EELS measurements and the q-PDOS that must be taken into consideration for realistic finite structures with no translational invariance along the direction of electron motion. Our work paves the way for using q-EELS as the preeminent tool for mapping the q-PDOS of exotic phenomena with large momenta (high-q) such as hyperbolic polaritons and spatially dispersive plasmons.

See also: Photonics
Sarang Pendharker, Huan Hu, Sean Molesky, Ryan Starko-Bowes, Zohreh Poursoti, Sandipan Pramanik, Neda Nazemifard, Robert Fedosejevs, Thomas Thundat, and Zubin Jacob. 3/31/2017.

Thermal graphene metamaterials and epsilon-near-zero high temperature plasmonics

. Journal of Optics, 19, 5.

The key feature of a thermophotovoltaic (TPV) emitter is the enhancement of thermal emission corresponding to energies just above the bandgap of the absorbing photovoltaic cell and simultaneous suppression of thermal emission below the bandgap. We show here that a single layer plasmonic coating can perform this task with high efficiency. Our key design principle involves tuning the epsilon-near-zero frequency (plasma frequency) of the metal acting as a thermal emitter to the electronic bandgap of the semiconducting cell. This approach utilizes the change in the reflectivity of a metal near its plasma frequency (epsilon-near-zero frequency) to lead to spectrally selective thermal emission, and can be adapted to large area coatings using high temperature plasmonic materials. We provide a detailed analysis of the spectral and angular performance of high temperature plasmonic coatings as TPV emitters. We show the potential of such high temperature plasmonic thermal emitter coatings (p-TECs) for narrowband near-field thermal emission. We also show the enhancement of near-surface energy density in graphene-multilayer thermal metamaterials due to a topological transition at an effective epsilon-near-zero frequency. This opens up spectrally selective thermal emission from graphene multilayers in the infrared frequency regime. Our design paves the way for the development of single layer p-TECs and graphene multilayers for spectrally selective radiative heat transfer applications.

Sarang Pendharker, Yu Guo, Farhad Khosravi, and Zubin Jacob. 3/17/2017.

PT-symmetric spectral singularity and negative-frequency resonance


Vacuum consists of a bath of balanced and symmetric positive- and negative-frequency fluctuations. Media in relative motion or accelerated observers can break this symmetry and preferentially amplify negative-frequency modes as in quantum Cherenkov radiation and Unruh radiation. Here, we show the existence of a universal negative-frequency-momentum mirror symmetry in the relativistic Lorentzian transformation for electromagnetic waves. We show the connection of our discovered symmetry to parity-time (PT) symmetry in moving media and the resulting spectral singularity in vacuum fluctuation-related effects. We prove that this spectral singularity can occur in the case of two metallic plates in relative motion interacting through positive- and negative-frequency plasmonic fluctuations (negative-frequency resonance). Our work paves the way for understanding the role of PT-symmetric spectral singularities in amplifying fluctuations and motivates the search for PT symmetry in novel photonic systems.

See also: Photonics, Quantum
Cristian L. Cortes and Zubin Jacob. 1/25/2017.

Super-Coulombic atom–atom interactions in hyperbolic media

. Nature Communications, 8.

Dipole–dipole interactions, which govern phenomena such as cooperative Lamb shifts, superradiant decay rates, Van der Waals forces and resonance energy transfer rates, are conventionally limited to the Coulombic near-field. Here we reveal a class of real-photon and virtual-photon long-range quantum electrodynamic interactions that have a singularity in media with hyperbolic dispersion. The singularity in the dipole–dipole coupling, referred to as a super-Coulombic interaction, is a result of an effective interaction distance that goes to zero in the ideal limit irrespective of the physical distance. We investigate the entire landscape of atom–atom interactions in hyperbolic media confirming the giant long-range enhancement. We also propose multiple experimental platforms to verify our predicted effect with phonon–polaritonic hexagonal boron nitride, plasmonic super-lattices and hyperbolic meta-surfaces as well. Our work paves the way for the control of cold atoms above hyperbolic meta-surfaces and the study of many-body physics with hyperbolic media.