One of the central goals of the field of nonlinear optics is to bring the control of light to ultrafast time scales using structures that are easily integrated into nano-optic devices. The ability to design the polarization state of a signal light pulse, with a second control light pulse, at THz rates, will allow new techniques to be developed such as ultrafast polarimetry and quantum state manipulation.
Here we all-optically control, with a femtosecond pulse, the anisotropy of a metamaterial to change the polarization state of signal light at a switching rate of 0.3THz, which is found to be closely linked to the electron temperature distribution within the structure and so can be tuned with the control light wavelength. We experimentally measure more than 60° rotation of the polarization orientation of the signal light. This effect is due to an induced phase shift of the extraordinary wave compared to the ordinary wave of the signal light. Polarization control is observed in both transmission and reflection and shown to be general to any anisotropic metamaterial. Considering only the signal light, its leading edge can alter the polarization state of the pulse allowing the pulse’s incident intensity to be encoded in its transmitted polarization state.
Luke H. Nicholls, Francisco J. Rodríguez-Fortuño, Mazhar E. Nasir, R. Margoth Cordova-Castro, Tomasz Stefaniuk, Nicolas Olivier, Gregory A. Wurtz, and Anatoly V. Zayats, "Ultrafast pulse design in anisotropic metamaterials through nonlinear optical control (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10671, Metamaterials XI, 106710A (Presented at SPIE Photonics Europe: April 23, 2018; Published: 23 May 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2307108.5788799917001.
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