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22 September 2010 Optimization of gap plasmonic waveguides for nonlinear applications
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Proceedings Volume 7750, Photonics North 2010; 77502L (2010)
Event: Photonics North 2010, 2010, Niagara Falls, Canada
Highly nonlinear waveguides are essential components for all-optical signal processing. Many promising nonlinear waveguides utilize the Kerr nonlinearity, the strength of which is determined not only by the material properties, but also by geometrical factors, quantified by the waveguide's nonlinear effective area Aeff. In an all-optical switch, the switching threshold power is proportional to Aeff, so optimization of the nonlinear waveguide is equivalent to minimization of Aeff. Recent studies have shown that dielectric slot waveguides can confine optical energy far below the diffraction limit, with nonlinear effective areas considerably less than those attainable in total internal reflection waveguides. In this work, we instead consider the use of a gap plasmonic waveguide (GPW) for deep sub-wavelength optical confinement. Using finite element methods, we compare optimized slot waveguides with GPWs of identical geometry. We show that the GPW achieves a nonlinearity more than an order of magnitude superior to the corresponding dielectric slot waveguide, and that a further optimization of the GPW is possible.
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Christopher McMahon and Brian R. West "Optimization of gap plasmonic waveguides for nonlinear applications", Proc. SPIE 7750, Photonics North 2010, 77502L (22 September 2010);

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