Gradient metasurfaces, or ultrathin optical components with engineered transverse impedance gradients along the surface, are able to locally control the phase and amplitude of the scattered fields over subwavelength scales, enabling a broad range of linear components in a flat, integrable platform1–4. On the contrary, due to the weakness of their nonlinear optical responses, conventional nonlinear optical components are inherently bulky, with stringent requirements associated with phase matching and poor control over the phase and amplitude of the generated beam. Nonlinear metasurfaces have been recently proposed to enable frequency conversion in thin films without phase-matching constraints and subwavelength control of the local nonlinear phase5–8. However, the associated optical nonlinearities are far too small to produce significant nonlinear conversion efficiency and compete with conventional nonlinear components for pump intensities below the materials damage threshold. Here, we report multi-quantum-well based gradient nonlinear metasurfaces with second-order nonlinear susceptibility over 106 pm/V for second harmonic generation at a fundamental pump wavelength of 10 μm, 5-6 orders of magnitude larger than traditional crystals. Further, we demonstrate the efficacy of this approach to designing metasurfaces optimized for frequency conversion over a large range of wavelengths, by reporting multi-quantum-well and metasurface structures optimized for a pump wavelength of 6.7 μm. Finally, we demonstrate how the phase of this nonlinearly generated light can be locally controlled well below the diffraction limit using the Pancharatnam-Berry phase approach5,7,9, opening a new paradigm for ultrathin, flat nonlinear optical components.
Extending the ‘flat optics’ paradigm to the nonlinear optics faces important challenges, since, for any practical situation, we are required to simultaneously achieve sub-diffraction phase control and efficient frequency conversion in metasurfaces of sub-wavelength thickness. Here, we experimentally demonstrate giant nonlinear response and continuous phase control of the giant nonlinear response in metasurfaces based on plasmonic nanoresonators coupled to intersubband transitions in semiconductor multi-quantum wells. Over 0.075% of second-harmonic power conversion efficiency is achieved experimentally in a 400-nm-thick metasurface using 10 microns wavelength pump with 20 kW/cm2 intensity.
Intersubband transitions in n-doped semiconductor heterostructures allow one to quantum-engineer one of the largest known nonlinear response in condensed matter systems but only for the electric field polarized normal to semiconductor layer. By coupling of a quantum-engineered multi-quantum-well semiconductor layer with electromagnetically-engineered plasmonic elements we may produce ultrathin metasurfaces with giant nonlinear response. Here we experimentally demonstrate metasurfaces designed for second harmonic generation at λ≈9.9 μm with a record-high nonlinear response for condensed-matter systems in infrared/visible spectral range, up to 1.17×106 pm/V. The practical impact of the nonlinear metasurfaces proposed here may be extended to a variety of fields, including THz generation and detection, phase conjugation, and other nonlinear optical processes.
Intersubband transitions in n-doped semiconductor heterostructures provide the possibility to quantum engineer one of the largest known nonlinear optical responses in condensed matter systems, limited however to electric field polarized normal to the semiconductor layers. Here we show that by coupling of electromagnetic modes in plasmonic metasurfaces with quantum-engineered intersubband transitions in semiconductor heterostructures one can create ultra-thin highlynonlinear metasurfaces for normal light incidence. Structures discussed here represent a novel kind of hybrid metalsemiconductor metamaterials in which exotic optical properties are produced by coupling electromagneticallyengineered modes in dielectric and plasmonic nanostructures with quantum-engineered intersubband transitions in semiconductor heterostructures. Record values of effective optical nonlinearities of over 400 nm/V are experimentally measured for metasurfaces optimized for efficient second harmonic generation at 9.7 μm pump wavelength under normal incidence.
We report that unique properties of long-range surface plasmon polaritons (LR SPP) allow one to produce optical
components with very wide tuning range using small variations in the refractive index of the dielectric layer. Our filter is
based on integration of a thin metal film between two dielectrics with dissimilar refractive index dispersion. In this
configuration, the filter only has low insertion loss at a wavelength for which the refractive indices of the top and bottom
dielectrics are the same, leading to a bandpass filter. As a proof-of-principle demonstration, we present operation of LR-SPP-
based bandpass optical filters with refractive index matching fluids on an Au/SiO2 surface in which a 0.004
variation in the refractive index of the top dielectric translates into 210nm of bandpass tuning at telecom wavelengths.
To make a more practical solid-state device, thermo-optic polymer can be used as a top dielectric and we expect that
only 8°C of temperature variation translates into 200nm. The tuning mechanism proposed here may be used to create
monolithic filters with tuning range spanning over more than an optical octave, compact and widely-tunable laser
systems, multi-spectral imagers, and other plasmonic components with broadly-tunable optical response.