Project title: Investigating the spatio temperal dynamics of amplification and gain in nano-plasmonic metamaterials at different lengthscales

Supervisors: Prof Ortwin Hess,  Dr Andrew Horsfield and Dr Rupert Oulton

Project description:

Metamaterials promise a future for a range of novel applications [1] such as invisibility cloaks [2], perfect lenses [3] or light emitting materials [4]. Unfortunately in the optical regime, the dissipative losses in the materials often inhibit practical applications [5]. The idea of incorporating gain material offers a route to loss-compensated optical metamaterials [6]. However, due to the dynamic temporal evolution of gain systems and the multi-scale nature of the problem, the accurate theoretical description of the system is challenging. This project aims to explore and implement new analytical and numerical techniques to further increase the understanding of the dynamics in metamaterials. 

[1] H. Chen, C. T. Chan, and P. Sheng, “Transformation optics and metamaterials,” NATURE MATERIALS, vol. 9, pp. 387¨C396, MAY 2010.

[2] Z. Liang, P. Yao, X. Sun, and X. Jiang, “The physical picture and the essential elements of the dynamical process for dispersive cloaking structures,” vol. 92, no. 13, p. 131118, 2008. 

[3] J. B. Pendry, “Negative refraction makes a perfect lens,” Phys. Rev. Lett., vol. 85, pp. 3966¨C3969, Oct 2000.

[4] A. K. Sarychev and G. Tartakovsky, “Magnetic plasmonic metamaterials in actively pumped host medium and plasmonic nanolaser,” Phys. Rev. B, vol. 75, p. 085436, Feb 2007.

[5] M. Blaber, M. Arnold, N. Harris, M. Ford, and M. Cortie, “Plasmon absorption in nanospheres: A comparison of sodium, potassium, aluminium, silver and gold,” Physica B: Condensed Matter, vol. 394, no. 2, pp. 184 ¨C 187, 2007. Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Electrical Transport and Optical Properties of Inhomogeneous Media. 

[6] S. Wuestner, A. Pusch, K. L. Tsakmakidis, J. M. Hamm, and O. Hess, “Overcoming Losses with Gain in a Negative Refractive Index Metamaterial,” PHYSICAL REVIEW LETTERS, vol. 105, SEP 14 2010.