Galfsky, Tal, Zheng Sun, Zubin Jacob, and Vinod M. Menon. 2015. “Preferential emission into epsilon-near-zero metamaterial”. Optical Materials Express 5 (12): 2878-83.

We report the use of epsilon near zero (ENZ) metamaterial to control spontaneous emission from Zinc-Oxide (ZnO) excitons. The ENZ material consists of alternating layers of silver and alumina with subwavelength thicknesses, resulting in an effective medium where one of the components of the dielectric constant approach zero between 370nm-440nm wavelength range. Bulk ZnO with photoluminescence maximum in the ENZ regime was deposited via atomic layer deposition to obtain a smooth film with near field coupling to the ENZ metamaterial. Preferential emission from the ZnO layer into the metamaterial with suppression of forward emission by 90% in comparison to ZnO on silicon is observed. We attribute this observation to the presence of dispersionless plasmonic modes in the ENZ regime as shown by the results of theoretical modeling presented here. Integration of ENZ metamaterials with light emitters is an attractive platform for realizing a low threshold subwavelength laser.

Starko-Bowes, R., J. Atkinson, W. Newman, H. Hu, T. Kallos, G. Palikaras, R. Fedosejevs, S. Pramanik, and Z. Jacob. 2015. “Optical characterization of epsilon-near-zero, epsilon-near-pole, and hyperbolic response in nanowire metamaterials”. Journal of the Optical Society of America B 32 (10): 2074-80.

We report on the optical and physical characterization of metallic nanowire (NW) metamaterials fabricated by electrodeposition of ≈30  nm≈30  nm diameter gold nanowires in nanoporous anodic aluminum oxide. We observe a uniaxial anisotropic dielectric response for the NW metamaterials that displays both epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) and epsilon-near-pole (ENP) resonances. We show that a fundamental difference in the behavior of NW metamaterials from metal-dielectric multilayer (ML) metamaterials is the differing directions of the ENZ and ENP dielectric responses relative to the optical axis of the effective dielectric tensor. In contrast to multilayer metamaterials, nanowire metamaterials exhibit an omnidirectional ENP and an angularly dependent ENZ. Also in contrast to ML metamaterials, the NW metamaterials exhibit ENP and ENZ resonances that are highly absorptive and can be effectively excited from free space. Our fabrication allows a large tunability of the epsilon-near-zero resonance in the visible and near-IR spectrum from 583 to 805 nm as the gold nanorod fill fraction changes from 26% to 10.5%. We support our fabrication process flow at each step with rigorous physical and optical characterization. Energy dispersive x-ray (EDX) and x-ray diffraction (XRD) analyses are used to ascertain the quality of electrochemically deposited Au nanowires prior to and after annealing. Our experimental results are in agreement with simulations of the periodic plasmonic crystal and also analytical calculations in the effective medium metamaterial limit. We also experimentally characterize the role of spatial dispersion at the ENZ resonance and show that the effect does not occur for the ENP resonance. The application of these materials to the fields of biosensing, quantum optics, and thermal devices shows considerable promise.

Jahani, Saman, and Zubin Jacob. 2015. “Photonic skin-depth engineering”. Journal of the Optical Society of America B 32 (7): 1346-53.

Recently, we proposed a paradigm shift in light confinement strategy showing how relaxed total internal reflection and photonic skin-depth engineering can lead to sub-diffraction waveguides without metal [Optica 1, 96 (2014) [CrossRef]  ]. Here, we show that such extreme-skin-depth (e-skid) waveguides can counterintuitively confine light better than the best-case all-dielectric design of high index silicon waveguides surrounded by vacuum. We also establish analytically that figures of merit related to light confinement in dielectric waveguides are fundamentally tied to the skin depth of waves in the cladding, a quantity surprisingly overlooked in dielectric photonics. We contrast the propagation characteristics of the fundamental mode of e-skid waveguides and conventional waveguides to show that the decay constant in the cladding is dramatically larger in e-skid waveguides, which is the origin of sub-diffraction confinement. We also propose an approach to verify the reduced photonic skin depth in experiment using the decrease in the Goos–Hanschen phase shift. Finally, we provide a generalization of our work using concepts of transformation optics where the photonic skin-depth engineering can be interpreted as a transformation on the momentum of evanescent waves.

See also: Photonics
Galfsky, T., H. N. S. Krishnamoorthy, W. Newman, E. E. Narimanov, Z. Jacob, and V. M. Menon. 2015. “Active hyperbolic metamaterials: enhanced spontaneous emission and light extraction”. Optica 2 (1): 62-65.

Hyperbolic metamaterials (HMMs) have recently garnered much attention because they possess the potential for broadband manipulation of the photonic density of states and subwavelength light confinement. These exceptional properties arise due to the excitation of electromagnetic states with high momentum (high-𝑘k modes). However, a major hindrance to practical applications of HMMs is the difficulty in coupling light out of these modes because they become evanescent at the surface of the metamaterial. Here we report the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of simultaneous spontaneous emission enhancement and outcoupling of high-𝑘k modes in an active HMM using a high-index-contrast bullseye grating. Quantum dots embedded inside the metamaterial are used for local excitation of high-𝑘k modes. This demonstration could pave the way for the development of photonic devices such as single-photon sources, ultrafast LEDs, and true nanoscale lasers.


Newman, Ward D., Cristian L. Cortes, Jon Atkinson, Sandipan Pramanik, Raymond G. DeCorby, and Zubin Jacob. 2014. “Ferrell–Berreman Modes in Plasmonic Epsilon-near-Zero Media”. ACS Photonics 2 (1): 2-7.

We observe unique absorption resonances in silver/silica multilayer-based epsilon-near-zero (ENZ) metamaterials that are related to radiative bulk plasmon-polariton states of thin-films originally studied by Ferrell (1958) and Berreman (1963). In the local effective medium, metamaterial description, the unique effect of the excitation of these microscopic modes is counterintuitive and captured within the complex propagation constant, not the effective dielectric permittivities. Theoretical analysis of the band structure for our metamaterials shows the existence of multiple Ferrell–Berreman branches with slow light characteristics. The demonstration that the propagation constant reveals subtle microscopic resonances can lead to the design of devices where Ferrell–Berreman modes can be exploited for practical applications ranging from plasmonic sensing to imaging and absorption enhancement.

Gu, Lei, J. E. Livenere, G. Zhu, T. U. Tumkur, H. Hu, C. L. Cortes, Z. Jacob, S. M. Prokes, and M. A. Noginov. 2014. “Angular distribution of emission from hyperbolic metamaterials”. Scientific Reports 4 (7327).

We have studied angular distribution of emission of dye molecules deposited on lamellar metal/dielectric and Si/Ag nanowire based metamaterials with hyperbolic dispersion. In agreement with the theoretical prediction, the emission pattern of dye on top of lamellar metamaterial is similar to that on top of metal. At the same time, the effective medium model predicts the emission patterns of the nanowire array and the dye film deposited on glass to be nearly identical to each other. This is not the case of our experiment. We tentatively explain the nearly Lambertian (∝cosθ) angular distribution of emission of the nanowire based sample by a surface roughness.

Jacob, Zubin. 2014. “Hyperbolic Phonon-Polaritons”. Nature Materials 13: 1081–1083 .

Hexagonal boron nitride nanostructures are shown to sustain phonon–polariton modes with comparable performances to plasmon–polariton modes in graphene but with lower losses.

See also: Quantum
Guo, Yu, Sean Molesky, Huan Hu, Cristian L. Cortes, and Zubin Jacob. 2014. “Thermal excitation of plasmons for near-field thermophotovoltaics”. Applied Physics Letters 105 (7).

The traditional approaches of exciting plasmons consist of either using electrons (e.g., electron energy loss spectroscopy) or light (Kretchman and Otto geometry) while more recently plasmons have been excited even by single photons. A different approach: thermal excitation of a plasmon resonance at high temperatures using alternate plasmonic media was proposed by S. Molesky et al. [Opt. Express 21, A96–A110 (2013)]. Here, we show how the long-standing search for a high temperature narrowband near-field emitter for thermophotovoltaics can be fulfilled by thermally exciting plasmons. We also describe a method to control Wein's displacement law in the near-field using high temperature epsilon-near-zero metamaterials. Finally, we show that our work opens up an interesting direction of research for the field of slow light: thermal emission control.

See also: Thermal, Quantum
Shekhar, Prashant, and Zubin Jacob. 2014. “Strong coupling in hyperbolic metamaterials”. PHYSICAL REVIEW B 90 (4).

Nanoscale light-matter interaction in the weak-coupling regime has been achieved with unique hyperbolic metamaterial modes possessing a high density of states. Here, we show strong coupling between intersubband transitions (ISBTs) of a multiple quantum well (MQW) slab and the bulk polariton modes of a hyperbolic metamaterial (HMM). These HMM modes have large wave vectors (high-k modes) and are normally evanescent in conventional materials. We analyze a metal-dielectric practical multilayer HMM structure consisting of a highly doped semiconductor acting as a metallic layer and an active multiple quantum well dielectric slab. We observe delocalized metamaterial mode interaction with the active materials distributed throughout the structure. Strong coupling and characteristic anticrossing with a maximum Rabi splitting (RS) energy of up to 52 meV is predicted between the high-k mode of the HMM and the ISBT, a value approximately 10.5 times greater than the ISBT linewidth and 4.5 times greater than the material loss of the structure. The scalability and tunability of the RS energy in an active semiconductor metamaterial device have potential applications in quantum well infrared photodetectors and intersubband light-emitting devices.

Guo, Yu, and Zubin Jacob. 2014. “Fluctuational electrodynamics of hyperbolic metamaterials”. Journal of Applied Physics 115 (23).

We give a detailed account of equilibrium and non-equilibrium fluctuational electrodynamics of hyperbolic metamaterials. We show the unifying aspects of two different approaches; one utilizes the second kind of fluctuation dissipation theorem and the other makes use of the scattering method. We analyze the near-field of hyperbolic media at finite temperatures and show that the lack of spatial coherence can be attributed to the multi-modal nature of super-Planckian thermal emission. We also adopt the analysis to phonon-polaritonic super-lattice metamaterials and describe the regimes suitable for experimental verification of our predicted effects. The results reveal that far-field thermal emission spectra are dominated by epsilon-near-zero and epsilon-near-pole responses as expected from Kirchoff's laws. Our work should aid both theorists and experimentalists to study complex media and engineer equilibrium and non-equilibrium fluctuations for applications in thermal photonics.