The growing field of quantum plasmonics lies at the intersection between nanophotonics and quantum optics. QUantum plasmonics investigate the quantum properties of single surface plasmons, trying to reproduce fundamental and landmark quantum optics experiment that would benefit from the light-confinement properties of nanophotonic systems, thus paving the way towards the design of basic components dedicated to quantum experiments with sizes inferior to the diffraction limit. Several groups have recently reproduced fundamental quantum optics experiments with single surface plasmons polaritons (SPPs). We have investigated two situations of quantum interference of single SPPs on lossy beamsplitters : a plasmonic version of the Hong-Ou-Mandel experiment, and the observation of plasmonic N00N states interferences. We numerically designed and fabricated several beamsplitters that reveal new quantum interference scenarios, such as the coalescence and the anti-coalescence of SPPs, or quantum non-linear absorption. Our work show that losses can be seen as a new degree of freedom in the design of plasmonic devices.
Two-photon absorption (TPA) is a third order non-linear process that relies on the quasi-simultaneous absorption of two photons. Therefore, it has been proved to be an interesting tool to measure ultra-fast correlations1 or to design all-optical switches.2 Yet, due to the intrinsically low efficiency of the non-linear processes, these applications rest upon high peak power light sources such as femtosecond and picosecond pulsed laser. However TPA has also been noticed as an appealing new scheme for quantum infrared detection.3, 4 Indeed, typical quantum detection of IR radiation is based on small gap semiconductors that need to be cooled down to cryogenic temperature to achieve sufficient detectivity. TPA enables the absorption of IR photons by wide gap semiconductors when pump photons are provided to complete optical transitions across the gap. Still, the low efficiency of TPA represents a difficulty to detect usual infrared photon fluxes. To tackle this issue, we combined three strategies to improve the detection efficiency. First, it has been proved theoretically and experimentally that using different pump and signal photon energies which is known as non degenerate TPA (NDTPA) help increasing the TPA efficiency by several orders of magnitude.5 Thus we decided to work with different pump and signal wavelength. Secondly, since TPA is a local quasi-instantaneous process, both pump and signal photons must be temporarily and spatially co-localized inside the active medium. We made sure to maximize the overlap of the fields inside our device. Finally, it is well known that TPA has a quadratic dependence with the signal electric fields modulus, so we designed a specific nanostructure to enhance the signal field inside the active medium of the detector.
Degenerate two-photon absorption (TPA) is investigated in a 186 nm thick gallium arsenide (GaAs) p-i-n diode
embedded in a resonant metallic nanostructure. The full device consists in the GaAs layer, a gold subwavelength grating
on the illuminated side, and a gold mirror on the opposite side. For TM-polarized light, the structure exhibits a resonance
close to 1.47 μm, with a confined electric field in the intrinsic region, far from the metallic interfaces. A 109 times
increase in photocurrent compared to a non-resonant device is obtained experimentally, while numerical simulations
suggest that both gain in TPA-photocurrent and angular dependence can be further improved. For optimized grating
parameters, a maximum gain of 241 is demonstrated numerically and over incidence angle range of (−30°; +30°). This
structure paves the way towards low-noise infrared detection, using non-degenerate TPA, involving two photons of
vastly different energies in the same process of absorption in a large bandgap semiconductor material.