Science & Technology

New basic limits for light trapping and utilization at the nanoscale

A metasurface of a split ring resonator partially overlaid with a 3D colormap showing a simulated electric field distribution. High momentum magnetoplasmons lead to the destruction of polaritons (blue spheres with red photon energy).Credits: Urban Senica, ETH Zurich

Physicists at the University of Southampton and ETH Zurich have reached new thresholds for light-matter binding on the nanoscale.

Recently published international studies Nature photonicsCombining theoretical and experimental discoveries, we have established a fundamental limitation on our ability to confine and utilize light.

The collaboration focused on photonic nanoantennas manufactured on top of two-dimensional electron gas in a size that shrinks like never before. This setup, commonly used in laboratories around the world, takes advantage of the ability of antennas to trap and focus light near electrons to investigate the effects of strong electromagnetic coupling.

Professor Simon de Liberato, director of the quantum theory and technology group at Southampton University, said: Materials science, optoelectronics, chemistry, quantum technology, and much more.

“In particular, focused light can be made to interact very strongly with matter, making electromagnetism non-perturbative. Next, light can be used to change the properties of interacting materials, so in material science. It’s a powerful tool. Light can be effectively woven into new materials. “

Scientists found that when experiments began to stimulate the propagation of plasmons, the sample under study was unable to confine light to systems below the 250 nm order limit. This caused the electron wave to move away from the resonator, spilling photon energy.

Experiments conducted by the group of Professors Jérôme Faist and Giacomo Scalari of ETH Zurich have yielded results that cannot be interpreted by a state-of-the-art understanding of the binding of light and matter. Physicists approached Southampton’s School of Physics and Astronomy, where researchers led theoretical analysis and built new theories that could quantitatively reproduce the results.

Professor De Liberato believes that the newly discovered limits may still be exceeded by future experiments, unleashing dramatic technological advances that rely on ultra-confined electromagnetic fields.

read Investigation of quantitative limits on the binding of light and matter on a nanoscale For more information on this study.

See: “Nonlocality of Polaritonics in Light-Matter Interactions”, Shima Rajabali, Erika Cortese, Mattias Beck, Simone De Liberato, Jérôme Faist, Giacomo Scalari, August 9, 2021 Nature photonics..
DOI: 10.1038 / s41566-021-00854-3

New basic limits for light trapping and utilization at the nanoscale New basic limits for light trapping and utilization at the nanoscale

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