The search for integrated photonic devices that enable modulation and active functions at speeds faster than those reached using electronics, continues to drive much of the research in photonics. One of the approaches to this task is to use the intrinsic electronic nonlinearity of metals. Plasmonic nanostructures and metamaterials have indeed shown strong nonlinear response leading to signal modulation at THz speeds. Furthermore, active polarization control is one of the major challenges facing an industry that aims at integrating photonic device at the nanoscale, as these tend to be based on weakly birefringent crystals that typically operate over micron scale lengths and microseconds. At the same time, hyperbolic metamaterials, such as nanorod-based plasmonic metamaterials or metal-dielectric multilayers, exhibit very highly anisotropy unachievable with natural materials resulting in efficient polarization conversion over sub wavelength distances. For instance, full linear to circular conversion has experimentally been shown with a 350 nm thick nanorod metamaterial slab. Here we show experimentally and theoretically that plasmonic nanorod metamaterials can provide intensity-dependent polarization rotation at ultrafast time scales, well within the THz frequency range. Time-resolved non-degenerate optical pump probe spectroscopy is used to provide experimental demonstration of the polarization rotation of a probe signal controlled by a control pump beam and reveal the associated rotation mechanism. The results provide new grounds for the development of optical functionalities that prove useful for all-optical ultrafast information processing in integrated photonic devices.
Luke Nicholls , Francisco J. Rodriguez Fortuno, Mazhar Nasir, Gregory A. Wurtz, and Anatoly V. Zayats, "Nonlinear components for polarization control (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10535, Integrated Optics: Devices, Materials, and Technologies XXII, 105350C (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 30, 2018; Published: 14 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2292170.5751557870001.
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