Plasmonic computing of spatial differentiation

Nat Commun. 2017 May 19;8:15391. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15391.


Optical analog computing offers high-throughput low-power-consumption operation for specialized computational tasks. Traditionally, optical analog computing in the spatial domain uses a bulky system of lenses and filters. Recent developments in metamaterials enable the miniaturization of such computing elements down to a subwavelength scale. However, the required metamaterial consists of a complex array of meta-atoms, and direct demonstration of image processing is challenging. Here, we show that the interference effects associated with surface plasmon excitations at a single metal-dielectric interface can perform spatial differentiation. And we experimentally demonstrate edge detection of an image without any Fourier lens. This work points to a simple yet powerful mechanism for optical analog computing at the nanoscale.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't