The emergence of metamaterials also has a strong potential to enable a plethora of novel nonlinear light-matter interactions and even new nonlinear materials. In particular, nonlinear focusing and defocusing effects are of paramount importance for manipulation of the minimum focusing spot size of structured light beams necessary for nanoscale trapping, manipulation, and fundamental spectroscopic studies. Colloidal suspensions offer as a promising platform for engineering polarizibilities and realization of large and tunable nonlinearities. We will present our recent studies of the phenomenon of spatial modulational instability leading to laser beam filamentation in an engineered soft-matter nonlinear media as well as in negative index metamaterials. We will also discuss the possibilities of guiding, manipulating, and processing radio-and microwave-frequency radiation using photonic structures built of filaments in air. In particular, we introduce so-called virtual hyperbolic metamaterials formed by an array of plasma channels in air as a result of self-focusing of an intense laser pulse, and show that such structure can be used to manipulate microwave beams in a free space. Generation of virtual hyperbolic metamaterials requires a regular and spatially invariant distribution of plasma channels. Therefore, we discuss the generation of such large regular arrays of filaments and consider the interactions between multiple filaments, multiple filament formation, and phase-controlled structured filaments.
Natalia M. Litchinitser, Wiktor T. Walasik, and Salih Z. Silahli, "Light-matter interactions in engineered optical media
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9918, Metamaterials, Metadevices, and Metasystems 2016, 99180F (Presented at SPIE Nanoscience + Engineering: August 28, 2016; Published: 9 November 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2238363.5159519564001.
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