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. 2015 Oct 30;6:8766.
doi: 10.1038/ncomms9766.

Optical Meta-Atom for Localization of Light With Quantized Energy

Free PMC article

Optical Meta-Atom for Localization of Light With Quantized Energy

Sylvain Lannebère et al. Nat Commun. .
Free PMC article


The capacity to confine light into a small region of space is of paramount importance in many areas of modern science. Here we suggest a mechanism to store a quantized 'bit' of light--with a very precise amount of energy--in an open core-shell plasmonic structure ('meta-atom') with a nonlinear optical response. Notwithstanding the trapped light state is embedded in the radiation continuum, its lifetime is not limited by the radiation loss. Interestingly, it is shown that the interplay between the nonlinear response and volume plasmons enables breaking fundamental reciprocity restrictions, and coupling very efficiently an external light source to the meta-atom. The collision of an incident optical pulse with the meta-atom may be used to release the trapped light 'bit'.


Figure 1
Figure 1. The optical meta-atom.
The core material is a dielectric with a nonlinear permittivity response formula image, while the shell is a plasmonic material with permittivity formula image. The inner and outer radii are R1 and R2, respectively.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Excitation of the meta-atom in the linear regime.
Electric field at the centre of the meta-atom as a function of time. The incident pulse duration is formula image. (a) R1≈0.98R1,0. The black thin line represents the theoretical peak amplitude determined by the decay rate formula image. (b) R1=R1,0.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Excitation of the meta-atom in the nonlinear regime.
Influence of the value of χ(3) (in m2 V−2) on the trapped field decay for an incident pulse with formula image. (a,b) Analytical model. (c,d) CST Microwave Studio simulations.
Figure 4
Figure 4. The effect of E0, material loss, and pulse duration on the field decay.
Influence of (a) the incident field magnitude E0 and (b) the level of losses ωc on the trapped field decay for a core material with χ(3)=9.8·10−19 m2 V−2 and an incident pulse of duration formula image. Influence of the pulse duration (in fs) on the trapped field decay for a core material with χ(3)=8.89·10−19 m2 V−2. (c) Short-pulse duration. (d) Long-pulse duration.
Figure 5
Figure 5. Release of the trapped light with a second light pulse.
Electric field as a function of time when the meta-atom is sequentially illuminated by two-light pulses. The collision of the second pulse with the meta-atom (sharp peak in the plots) releases the trapped light ‘bit', except when the frequency of oscillation of the second pulse satisfies ω2=ωp. The dotted line represents the decay rate for the equivalent linear case.

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