Surface plasmons (SPs) are electromagnetic surface waves that propagate at the interface between a conductor and a dielectric. Due to their unique ability to concentrate light on two-dimensional platforms and produce very high local-field intensity, SPs have rapidly fueled a variety of fundamental advances and practical applications. In parallel, the development of metamaterials and metasurfaces has rapidly revolutionized the design concepts of traditional optical devices, fostering the exciting field of meta-optics. This review focuses on recent progress of meta-optics inspired SP devices, which are implemented by the careful design of subwavelength structures and the arrangement of their spatial distributions. Devices of general interest, including coupling devices, on-chip tailoring devices, and decoupling devices, as well as nascent SP applications empowered by sophisticated usage of meta-optics, are introduced and discussed.
Metasurfaces have enabled the realization of several optical functionalities over an ultrathin platform, fostering the exciting field of flat optics. Traditional metasurfaces are achieved by arranging a layout of static meta-atoms to imprint a desired operation on the impinging wavefront, but their functionality cannot be altered. Reconfigurability and programmability of metasurfaces are the next important step to broaden their impact, adding customized on-demand functionality in which each meta-atom can be individually reprogrammed. We demonstrate a mechanical metasurface platform with controllable rotation at the meta-atom level, which can implement continuous Pancharatnam–Berry phase control of circularly polarized microwaves. As the proof-of-concept experiments, we demonstrate metalensing, focused vortex beam generation, and holographic imaging in the same metasurface template, exhibiting versatility and superior performance. Such dynamic control of electromagnetic waves using a single, low-cost metasurface paves an avenue towards practical applications, driving the field of reprogrammable intelligent metasurfaces for a variety of applications.
Terahertz science and technology promise many cutting-edge applications. Terahertz surface plasmonic waves that propagate at metal–dielectric interfaces deliver a potentially effective way to realize integrated terahertz devices and systems. Previous concerns regarding terahertz surface plasmonic waves have been based on their highly delocalized feature. However, recent advances in plasmonics indicate that the confinement of terahertz surface plasmonic waves, as well as their propagating behaviors, can be engineered by designing the surface environments, shapes, structures, materials, etc., enabling a unique and fascinating regime of plasmonic waves. Together with the essential spectral property of terahertz radiation, as well as the increasingly developed materials, microfabrication, and time-domain spectroscopy technologies, devices and systems based on terahertz surface plasmonic waves may pave the way toward highly integrated platforms for multifunctional operation, implementation, and processing of terahertz waves in both fundamental science and practical applications. We present a review on terahertz surface plasmonic waves on various types of supports in a sequence of properties, excitation and detection, and applications. The current research trend and outlook of possible research directions for terahertz surface plasmonic waves are also outlined.
In the terahertz regime, due to perfect conductivity of most metals, it is hard to realize a strong confinement of Surface plasmon polaritons (SPPs) although a propagation loss could be sufficiently low. We experimentally demonstrated a structure with periodic pillars arranged on a thin metal surface that supports bound modes of spoof SPPs at terahertz (THz) frequencies. By using scanning near-field THz microscopy, the electric field distribution above the metal surface within a distance of 130 μm was mapped. The results proved that this structure could guide spoof SPPs propagating along subwavelength waveguides, and at the same time reduce field expansion into free space. Further, for the development of integrated optical circuits, several components including straight waveguide, S-bend, Y-splitter and directional couplers were designed and characterized by the same method. We believe that the waveguide components proposed here will pave a new way for the development of flexible, wideband and compact photonic circuits operating at THz frequencies.