Conventional plasmonic materials are typically fabricated using a single homogenous metal and structured to obtain useful functionality. Alternatively, structures are occasionally made in which several homogenous materials are deposited using a layer-by-layer process, such as metal-dielectric-metal structures . However additional control over the propagation properties of surface plasmon-polaritons should be possible if the metal conductivity could also be varied spatially. This is not straightforward using conventional microfabrication techniques.
We demonstrate the ability to vary the conductivity spatially using a conventional inkjet printer, yielding either step-wise changes or continuous changes in the conductivity. We accomplish this using a commercially available inkjet printer, where one inkjet cartridge is filled with conductive silver ink and a second cartridge is filled with resistive carbon ink. By varying the fractional amounts of the two inks in each printed dot, we can spatially vary the conductivity. The silver ink has a DC conductivity that is only a factor of six lower than the bulk silver, while the carbon ink acts as a lossy dielectric at terahertz frequencies. Both inks sinter immediately after being printed on a treated PET transparency.
We demonstrate the utility of this approach with both plasmonics and metamaterial applications, demonstrating the ability to control beam profiles, create new filter capabilities and hide images in THz metasurfaces.
Ashish Chanana, Andrew Paulsen, and Ajay Nahata, "Applications of spatially varying conductivity in plasmonics and metamaterials (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10103, Terahertz, RF, Millimeter, and Submillimeter-Wave Technology and Applications X, 1010312 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: February 01, 2017; Published: 19 April 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2257637.5391659210001.
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